Aegon research highlights financial concerns over coronavirus

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  • There’s less concern among those starting to build their pension savings (18-34 year olds) compared to those more likely to be approaching retirement or taking an income (55-64 year olds)
  • Anxiety was highest among the 55-64 age range, with 63% reporting high levels of anxiety

Aegon has launched a tracker survey to better understand how savers and investors are behaving as a result of the coronavirus and the ensuing market volatility.

The survey* of more than 1,100 consumers, conducted at the end of March, shows that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is acute, with concern not only for their health but their finances too, with the highest levels of anxiety among 55 to 64 year olds.

A third (33%) of 18-34 year olds have checked the performance of their investments in the last four weeks, compared to 53% of people in the 55 to 64 year old bracket, suggesting that younger investors with longer investment horizons are less anxious which may at least partly be because they have less saved.

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said:

“We’re going through extremely concerning times with the coronavirus crisis affecting every walk of live from health to wealth. Our research shows the very different reactions people have depending on what stage of life they are at. In times of high market volatility younger investors are generally more prepared to shut out the noise, and take comfort that historically the best strategy appears to be to stay on the same course they set out on.”

In terms of reacting to highly volatile market conditions, some 18 to 34 year olds in particular have taken this as an opportunity to invest with 28% making one off investments, compared to just one in ten of 55 to 64 year olds.

Those in the older category have also taken considerably more time to inform themselves of market conditions. In terms of paying attention to what is happening in the stock market there was a marked difference with 72% of those in the older group focusing on market movements compared to 44% of younger savers.

Steven Cameron concluded:

“In these exceptional times, with volatile markets, there’s a risk that people, particularly those without an adviser, may panic and react to market movements by rushing into financial decisions that could have long term adverse consequences. After the significant falls in stock markets, it can often be in individuals’ interest to avoid cashing in stock market investments and look to draw money from other sources of savings. It can also make sense if possible to take less income or only what you really need right now. It’s always good to seek advice, and especially so in the current climate before taking any big decisions.”

References

*The 1,110 respondents who took part in this study were recruited through Aegon’s customer and consumer panels. Fieldwork was undertaken in March 2020

Notes to Editors

  • In the UK, Aegon offers retirement, workplace savings and protection solutions to over three million customers. Aegon employs around 2000 people in the UK and together with a further 800 people employed by Atos, we serve the needs of our customers. More information: aegon.co.uk
  • As an international life insurance, pensions and asset management group based in The Hague, Aegon has businesses in over twenty markets in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Aegon companies employ approximately 26,000 people and have millions of customers across the globe. Further information: aegon.com

Figures correct as of November 2019