Age UK has carried out a survey of those aged 80 and over prior to its upcoming summit on Financial Resilience.
This is a measure of how people plan to cope with the challenges that may crop up in later life. Despite this being the fastest growing sector of the population it is being overlooked in terms of financial services.
The survey found that 37 percent – more than one in three – of people aged 80 and older want better rates on their savings accounts.
The findings, just days after the fifth anniversary of the Bank of England’s decision to cut interest rates, underline the importance for this age group of making the most of their savings.
At a time of rising energy and fuel bills, savings may be the only source of income beyond the state pension for many in their eighties and above.
The Age UK survey also stresses the importance of the branch network to older people. 79 percent of those aged 80 and over have their main account with the branch of a high street bank or building society, with only five per cent using an online account.
Even for over 50s as a whole, only seven percent use an online account as their main account.
Lord Filkin’s report last year warned that Government and society are “woefully unprepared for the UK’s ageing population.”
The Financial Services Commission brings together Government and leading industry figures and is consulting with older people on ways to prepare for later life, i.e. financial resilience.
Age UK Group Chief Executive Tom Wright said, “There are 1.4 million people in the UK aged 85 and over and the number is expected to double in the next twenty years. Yet the sector is not geared up to recognise the importance of this group of people who currently spend £121 billion a year. It’s time to change that and ensure that like the rest of the population, the financial services industry treats older people as the valuable customers that they are.”
“Responding to this challenge will call for some innovative solutions from the sector, including a fundamental rethink in terms products and services to suit this changing market. Developing this new approach is going to need a cross-cutting discussion, and so this group representing different parts of the sector is a good place to start.” quoted Dr Alexander Scott, Chief Executive of the Chartered Insurance Institute.
The commission will launch its findings on 25th June.