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Coronavirus has been a financial 'wake-up call' for Aussies

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The coronavirus pandemic has put Australians' retirement plans on ice, research from Colonial First State shows.

The survey found that almost half of us are scared or lack confidence in our ability to retire, with a quarter of those aged 35-65 planning to push back retirement.

"The coronavirus pandemic has significantly changed the world, not only socially but financially too. These are extremely challenging times for many people," says Kelly Power from Colonial First State.

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"It has been a big wake up call for those Australians in their prime working age regarding their employment, savings, expenses, investments and super, and many have been forced to get a better grasp of their finances.

Power adds that younger Australians who still have time before retirement are feeling more anxious about retiring than their older counterparts due to the savings and investment still for them to do.

"The good news is there are some simple ways to re-build your nest egg and boost your retirement income, and we're already seeing some Australians starting to tackle this. Our research found that many of us are willing to make sacrifices to get back on track, reducing spending and keeping a closer eye on our budgets, which is a positive sign," says Power.

Meanwhile, women were found to be more uncertain about their retirement prospects than men. At the same time, women are more willing to reduce spending compared to men.

"The gender gap in the Australian superannuation system is a real issue that sees women financially disadvantaged in retirement. It was an issue before the current crisis, and it will be an even bigger problem when we emerge from the recession," says Power.

"As an industry this is something that is concerning for us and we need to do everything we can to support women impacted by coronavirus, help them protect their wealth, and rebuild as the economy recovers."

We're cutting through the confusion to help you manage your money during the coronavirus outbreak. Click here for more on how COVID-19 could affect your job, budget, super and investments.

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David Thornton is a journalist at Money magazine. He previously worked at Your Money, covering market news as producer of Trading Day Live. Before that, he covered business and finance news at The Constant Investor. David holds a Masters of International Relations from the University of Melbourne.
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