Millions may have to rethink their retirement plans

More than one in ten have mortgage debt in the final decade before they retire

Two-thirds (67%) of Britons admit to having debt that is weighing them down, according to a recent study[1]. Additionally, nearly one in ten (9%) adults in the UK are unsure about the amount they owe in outstanding debts, rising to more than one in six (16%) among those aged 45 and over.

Credit or store card debt is the most common form of debt, accounting for 32% of respondents, followed by personal loans (16%), overdrafts (15%) and unpaid household or utility bills (10%). Surprisingly, more than one in ten (11%) individuals aged 55 and above have mortgage debt in the final decade before retirement.

Impacting retirement plans and financial security

Having debt can significantly impact retirement plans and financial security, leading to increased stress and reduced income in retirement. Taking proactive measures to reduce debt before entering retirement is essential. These actions include consolidating debt, paying off high-interest loans, reducing unnecessary expenses and working with financial advisers to create a comprehensive retirement plan.

Funds to cover unforeseen expenses

Comparing results from 2021 to 2023, the survey found that debt has increased among 52% of 45-54-year-olds. However, respondents have also tried to address their debt situation, with 38% cutting back on non-essential spending, 21% working overtime or getting a second job, and 13% seeking advice from debt services or helplines.

Furthermore, unexpected bills have posed challenges for many individuals, with 31% of Britons paying an unexpected necessary bill of £850 or more in the past 12 months. While 57% of UK adults claim to have emergency savings, only 24% used these funds to cover unforeseen expenses. 

Importance of managing debt effectively 

Instead, 19% relied on credit cards, 11% sought help from family or friends, and 8% took out loans or used their overdraft. Additionally, 5% resorted to payday loans, and another 5% cashed in their pensions to manage unexpected costs.

These findings highlight the importance of managing debt effectively and planning ahead to ensure a secure financial future.

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Source data:

[1] The research was conducted by Censuswide between 20–24 April 2023 of 2,009 general consumers, aged 18+, national representative sample. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.