Over 55s are confused by financial products

Nia Williams

November 30, 2010

This is according to the latest research from Age UK Enterprises, the commercial services arm of the charity Age UK.

The survey found that only around one in three (30%) over 55s are confident that all the financial purchases they have made are best for their needs. Over one third (35%) of over 55s admit to never knowing who to ask for guidance on financial products.

When asked about annuities, products that convert a pension fund into regular income through retirement, almost half of the 55-64 age group (48%) did not know what an annuity is. Of the 55 – 64 year olds, the age group most likely to require an annuity, nearly a quarter (23%) wrongly believe it to be an investment fund.

To support the increasing numbers of people reaching retirement through this area of confusion, Age UK Enterprises has launched an Annuity Service in partnership with Premier Retirement Services, part of JLT Benefit Solutions. The service will provide information and guidance through its online comparison site or through its telephone service, to support customers in shopping around when they buy an annuity and in doing so help them to maximise their income in retirement.

Gordon Morris, managing director of Age UK Enterprises, said: “Our research demonstrates that many consumers aged 55 and over are confused when it comes to making one of the most important decisions for their long term financial security. This is of particular concern when buying an annuity, which, unlike most other financial products, is a one off purchase and can’t usually be reversed.”

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