The findings were published in Retirement Advantage’s latest Retirement Sentiment Index, which tracked trends in how those approaching retirement think about their finances.
The report revealed that nearly four in ten (39%) over-50s said they would not take any financial risk with their pension savings – a double-digit increase on last year’s figure of 26%.
The proportion who said they would take a reasonable amount of risk, for a good chance of a favourable return, also fell to its lowest level since the Index began three years ago – to 17% from 28% last year and 29% in 2015.
A wary 18% of over-50s said they wanted instant access to all of their pension savings, as their main priority for their retirement income, up from 12% last year.
Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Retirement Advantage, said: “Savers have been spooked by the recent market volatility which shows no signs of abating.
“If anything, the volatility is likely to continue, with global uncertainties permeating major economies, the prospect of interest rates rising and quantitative easing programmes being unwound.
“This is understandably not an ideal backdrop for anyone planning for their retirement and our research paints a picture of the over-50s being ill-prepared but wanting to take risk off the table when looking at their finances.
“One of the best moves anyone can take to planning for their retirement is seek advice from a professional financial adviser.”