By Lynne Robertson-Rose, Career Development Fellow (Pensions) at the University of Edinburgh

It’s often assumed that the average person in their 50s and 60s is well prepared for retirement. After all, they benefited from defined benefit pensions and property ownership. But ‘average’ hides wide disparities. Achieving a better later life and avoiding financial vulnerability is a major challenge for many. It isn’t just about being willing to save into a workplace pension, although that is a start. Some of our most vulnerable citizens have never built up savings for retirement. How can they save for a pension when they earn just enough to get by?

And even those who have prepared for retirement can stumble as they approach later life. Economic disruption and income volatility can ruin the best laid plans. Today’s older workers face reduced hours and unemployment because of the Covid pandemic. And changing circumstances such as caring responsibilities or ill-health can put a brake on earnings and force people to draw on their pension savings early.

As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to take a more inclusive approach and recognise that support for everyone is key to preventing financial vulnerability in later life.

And this is where you can help

Standard Life Foundation is funding our research into financial vulnerability amongst older workers. As part of the research, we have created a focus group message board for people directly supporting people who are vulnerable across Scotland. We are keen to hear the perspective from as many organisations as possible.

Perhaps you volunteer in a rural food bank or you might work in an inner city advice bureau. But, wherever you are in Scotland, if you have a client facing role, we would like to hear your views on how to help older workers navigate the decade before state retirement age.

To take part in the research, go to our website Older Workers’ Later Lives. The details of the message board research are on the ‘get involved’ page and the sign up page is here.

Together we can make a difference.