Retirement? Forget it: Why many in their 50s fear the Covid crash will force them to work up to 10 years longer

Thousands of over-50s have had their dreams of giving up work dashed after the Covid-19 crisis wrecked their retirement plans. Half of investors admit having a 'pension black hole' and fear their savings will no longer give them the income they need in retirement, according to a study by Fidelity. She had been looking forward to starting a phased retirement in just a few months' time but now expects this to be delayed for six or seven years.  Nanda, who lives in the Midlands, and her husband Tony Hodgson, 60, wanted to gradually spend less time working, reaching full retirement in about three years. Nanda's business, Added Insight, is a research company which runs focus groups and interview sessions. As well as her loss of earnings, the value of Nanda's pension pot, which is invested in the stock market, has fallen. 'At one point I had lost 20 per cent of my money but now the loss is in single percentage points.  'But this will need to recover before I can think of slowing my work and phasing in retirement.' Jude quickly set up a website at the start of lockdown — — but so far it has brought in less than £5,000 of online orders. But I have just lost a huge amount of income, taken on £10,000 of debt through the bounce-back loan scheme and my pension savings have taken a beating,' she says. Jude has shrewdly saved in pension schemes since she was 21 and recently consolidated all the pots she had accrued, which will take time to recover. Although stock markets in general have since partially recovered, widespread declines have hit pension savings. This is a bigger worry for those close to retirement who don't have much time to make up big losses and may now want to leave their pension untouched for longer to give it time to recover further.  Ross MacNish, financial planner at wealth manager Brewin Dolphin, says: 'You can stay invested for longer, rather than turning on the income taps, and put more into your pension while you are still earning. 'Lockdown has had a big impact on people's normal spending habits and short-term plans, so it may be a good time to consider what you will require when it has ended and what that means for your retirement.