Voice of the Employee

Nearly one in four people who were due to retire this year have been forced to put off their plans as they cannot afford to stop working, a survey has found. Some 22% of people surveyed for Prudential who were scheduled to retire in 2016 have postponed their plans as they cannot afford to give up their job.

Around three in 10 (29%) of those planning to retire this year said they do not believe that their pensions and other savings will give them enough income to support a comfortable life in retirement.

On average, this year’s retirees expect to be drawing their pension for more than 20 years. The findings also showed that more than half (51%) of those who currently plan to retire in 2016 are either already working past their respective state pension age or would consider doing so when they reach that landmark.

This continues a trend seen for the previous three years, in which more than half of people approaching retirement would consider working past their state pension age.

Of those working or considering working beyond their state pension age in this year’s survey, 29% would change employers to do so. More than a quarter (27%) would stay in their current job but reduce their working hours, while one in 10 (11%) would stay on full-time in the same job.

Many people had non-financial reasons for considering working past their state pension age. More than half of those already working or considering working past state pension age said they wanted to keep their mind and body active.

One in three (34%) said they did not feel ready to retire and 41% enjoyed their work too much to give it up. And one in six (16%) of those who have put off retirement said they never want to retire at all.

Of those considering working beyond their state pension age, 7% would like to start their own business while one in eight (13%) would like to try earning money from a hobby.

Stan Russell, a retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “With this year’s retirees preparing to spend an average of 20 years retired it’s understandable why they now see giving up work as a gradual process rather than a one-off event.

“However, for everyone who can choose their retirement date there are some who have no choice because they physically can’t continue at work, and others whose financial situation forces them to stay on.

“Anyone looking to give themselves the greatest degree of choice of when to give up work should be trying to save as much money as possible as early as possible during their careers.”

The research was carried out among more than 9,000 people aged 45 and over, including 1,000 people planning to retire in 2016.

The Government’s landmark drive to automatically enrol people into workplace pensions and encourage a stronger retirement savings culture started in 2012.

So far, there are signs it has been a success with nine in 10 people staying in the pension they are placed in and take-up being particularly strong among younger people.

Companies are being brought on board automatic enrolment in waves, with the biggest firms having started first. Smaller employers, which tend to have less experience of pensions and explaining their benefits, are being brought into the automatic enrolment scheme.

A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said: “We know that many people are not saving enough to maintain their standard of living in retirement. That’s precisely why we introduced wide-ranging reforms to make pension saving easier, clearer and more sustainable.

“From introducing the new state pension, safeguarding the triple lock and encouraging millions more to save through automatic enrolment, we are committed to helping people have a financially secure retirement.”

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