Nearly one in six (16%) told equity release provider Key that the pandemic has convinced them to retire earlier voluntarily.
However, an additional 8% said the pandemic has meant they have been 'forced' to stop work earlier than they intended.
The news comes as the government's furlough scheme is due to end today with 1.6m people still furloughed. Key believes the ending of the furlough scheme could push more to retire early or quit the workforce.
The survey found women were more likely to retire early due to the pandemic than men. Almost one in five (18%) said they were stopping work voluntarily in comparison to 15% of men.
Men and women were equally likely to have been forced to stop work earlier than they intended, according to Key’s survey of 1,000 people expecting to retire during 2021.
Even those 2021 retirees not retiring earlier than planned have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Almost three in five (59%) told Key they have felt the impact of the pandemic on their retirement plans.
Almost one in ten (8%) of those expecting to retire this year said their retirement income is lower due to the impact of the pandemic, while 4% said they have more debt as a result. An additional 4% said they have had to help out family with their finances.
Those retiring in the East Midlands were the most likely to be retiring earlier due to the impact of the pandemic. Nearly two out of five (39%) there said they are doing so.
East Anglia (32%) also saw higher than average levels of early retirement.
By contrast the North East saw the lowest levels of early retirement at 18%, while the South East also saw lower than average levels at 20%.
Will Hale, CEO at Key said: “The pandemic has been a hugely uncertain time for most people but especially those who need to make the big decision about how and when to retire. Some have reassessed their priorities and decided to stop working sooner than imagined while others have lost their jobs or been made redundant – an issue that the end of furlough will only exacerbate.”
• Research was conducted by Research Plus on behalf of Key between 24 March and 8 April among a sample of 1,000 people expecting to retire during 2021.
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