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Residents adjust retirement plans amid uncertainty

Retirement plans: saving money and making investments are among the top methods used by residents to prepare for their post-career years

Almost half the residents asked about preparing for retirement said their plans have changed owing to economic factors that they cannot control, survey results showed.

The poll also found that saving money and making financial investments were key ways for people to ready themselves for life after work.

A media release from Narrative Research Bermuda, which asked questions of 225 adults on the island, said: “In these tough economic times we wanted to understand the impact of inflation and cost-of-living increases on the population’s retirement plans.

“Two in ten [19 per cent] of Bermuda residents report they are already retired, in line with other national findings.

“Unsurprisingly, residents 55 years and older, lower-income earners [below $75,000] and Bermudians are more likely to already be retired compared to their respective counterparts.”

It explained that residents were asked about their plans for retirement, whether or not they were still working.

The release said: “Among those who are already retired nearly half [45 per cent] mention they saved money [or had] financial investments; followed by a quarter of retired residents who express they worked hard/got an education [26 per cent]; invested in stocks and mutual funds [25 per cent]; or pension [24 per cent].

“Among those who are not yet retired, top mentions also include having saved money/financial investments [48 per cent]; invested in stocks and mutual funds [30 per cent]; and pension [21 per cent].”

Results from the survey, carried out from August 31 to September 13, showed that “White residents and non-Bermudians more commonly express they invested in stocks and mutual funds and pension compared to their respective counterparts”.

The release said: “Also, high-income earners [$150,000-plus] are more likely to mention investing in real estate/rental income.

“Across parishes, residents in Pembroke/Devonshire are far more likely to mention they saved money [or had] financial investments.

“Lastly, residents who are not yet retired were asked if they had to change retirement plans due to economic factors out of their control.

“Overall, nearly half [46 per cent] report they have had to change retirement plans, while just over half [54 per cent] have not.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, lower-income earners are more likely to have had to change their retirement plans, compared to those with higher incomes.

“Moreover, the likelihood of having changed retirement plans increases with age and is greater among White residents.”

The results were collected from Narrative Research Bermuda’s proprietary online panel of adult residents, Bermuda Voice.

Margaret Chapman, of Narrative Research Bermuda, said: “Overall these results demonstrate that there has been a big shift in retirement plans and expectations.

“In this economic climate, while it’s perhaps unsurprising to know that people have had to adjust their retirement plans due to economic factors outside their control, what is surprising is the scale — half of those who haven’t yet retired have had to make changes to their plans, more so low-income earners and those who are closer to retirement.

“In essence, a lot of people are delaying their retirement plans.”

She added: “The data also shows that there is some uncertainty about retirement.

“A quarter of people told us they have no idea when they are going to be able to retire, and very few say they’ll be able to retire before the age of 65.

"Further, there seem to be lowering expectations. Four in ten acknowledge that they may be less comfortable financially in retirement than they are now.

"All of this just underscores the economic uncertainty that we are all living through.

“The cost of living is the top issue our survey respondents identify as the most important issue facing Bermuda, and our consumer-confidence index is sluggish — well below levels where people are willing to spend freely, which tells us that people are just not feeling financially stable.”

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Published November 21, 2023 at 7:56 am (Updated November 21, 2023 at 7:56 am)

Residents adjust retirement plans amid uncertainty

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