One in three over-50s have bought shares in a company to help fund their retirement, according to research by Saga Share Direct.
The firm revealed that other common reasons the over 50s buy and sell shares are to give them a regular source of income (21%) and because they think they will get a higher return by investing in shares than if they leave their money in a savings account (62%).
Meanwhile, 7% of the over-50s consider keeping a close eye on the FTSE 100 a hobby, while others say they have bought shares because they like numbers and because trading shares helps keep them mentally active.
Saga estimates that around 11 million over-50s own shares but not everyone has bought them. One in 13 people have inherited them from a family member and kept them and the same number of people said they acquired the shares they own through a generous employer.
In addition, almost three fifths of people aged 80 to 89 said they have bought shares over their lifetime. Perhaps these people have collected shares through company schemes during their working life or have invested took advantage of privatisation of former public companies, such as BT.
It is men who are the most likely to take an interest in the stock market as three quarters say they have bought shares, compared to three fifths of women. While women are most likely to inherit shares (women 13% vs men 5%) and use the money they make to help boost their income.
Jeff Bromage, chief operating officer at Saga Personal Finance, said: “These days’ lots of people are worried about making their money last in retirement and now that people are able to take their pension as a lump sum I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more people start trading to help boost their income.
“However people should remember that there are some risks involved with share dealing so they should always do their research before they start investing their money.”