Severely Struggling

The polarising effects of the pandemic have contributed to the widening of a number of existing inequalities in financial wellbeing and long-term savings. Some groups were particularly hard hit or did not have the chance to benefit form the ‘offsetting’ effects of the crisis.

In this section we take a detailed look at some of these groups: the later middle-aged, low earners and self-employed.

Explore severely struggling


In what way has your financial situation changed due to Covid?

There has rightly been a significant amount of focus on the impact Covid has had on young people. Our results highlight, however, that in many ways it is older working individuals who appear to have been most affected by the pandemic.

Severely Struggling conclusion



The global pandemic has had a devastating effect on the health of the nation and all of our everyday lives. The financial impact of the crisis has been significant, but also remarkably nuanced and certain groups have struggled more than others.

Many self-employed people, those on lower incomes, and perhaps more surprisingly those in late middle age have experienced job losses and reduced income. Much needs to be done to support individuals, shore up financial resilience and contribute to better long-term savings. There are also silver linings in the financial situation for some.

You can read more about those silver linings and policies to support long-term savings in the full version of the 2021 Scottish Widows Retirement Report.

Explore 17 years’ worth of Scottish Widows Retirement Report data.