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Researchers have highlighted new figures, recently compiled by Survey Compare, which suggest retirement as we know it could be a thing of the past for the current generation of working adults. When questioned, only twenty four percent of men and nineteen percent of women said they knew for certain that they were going to retire. As the government tries to tackle concerns over the cost of pensions by increasing the retirement age to reflect our longer lifespans, Survey Compare looked at what plans the general population are making for their retirement.
Why Won’t People Retire?
Retirement is fast taking up a significant proportion of people’s lives as improved healthcare means men and women now face fifteen to seventeen years of good health post retirement. This combined with the ever decreasing value of pensions means people are considering whether their finances will adequately provide for this period. In fact, forty two percent of respondents to the survey said that financial concerns were the biggest factor in their not taking retirement. However, fears over finance aren’t the only reason people are looking to postpone their retirement, with social issues, career progression and the chance to continuing using one’s skills also being cited.
Work Plans for Later Years
Whilst people are looking to defer their retirement, most don’t intend to carry on working in the same way as they do today. Indeed, only sixteen percent of men and eleven percent of women say they will continue work for the same employer. Most retirees believe they will either work part time, look for another employer or work for themselves. Also, with the UK unemployment rate, as recorded by Survey Compare, standing at twenty one percent, retirees are increasingly having to look at a number of different ways to gain that extra income they feel is necessary to see them through retirement. One noticeable statistic reveals that women’s retirement plans are markedly more uncertain than their male counterparts, with over forty percent being unsure of what they will do, compared to only twenty four percent of men.
How Will Retirement Change Over the Coming Decades?
For the over fifty fives, forty seven percent of people questioned did believe they would be able to retire, but for younger generations, this was considered more of a remote possibility. Within the 35-54 year old age group, the number of people who envisaged being able to retire plummeted by over fifty percent – and this percentage continued to fall with age. With fewer jobs for life and salaried pensions, and more portfolio careers offering less by way of future financial provision fast becoming the order of the day, the findings are a clear indication of the way in which working life has changed.
Who Will Be Retiring in the Future?
Retirement plans have some correlation between working income and education levels. Ironically, perhaps, the more money people earn, the less likely they are to retire, with the highest rate of retirement apparent in people who earn under £25,000 a year. Similarly, the higher a person’s academic achievement, the less likely they are to retire, with people who left school straight after obtaining their GCSEs being the most likely to retire completely.
Also, as people’s level of education and income increase, the more likely they are to profess an interest in working for themselves. This option is also most popular for those who already have two or more jobs, and who are more used to approaching the employment market in a more flexible manner. This research therefore goes some way towards showing that retirees are becoming increasingly flexible when it comes to their choice of employment, with popular options including working from home making crafts, carrying out market research or setting up businesses in their area of specialism.
Is Retirement Really a Thing of the Past?
Retirement is something that is evolving as our lifestyles change. Few people in their sixties see themselves as ready for the scrapheap, but they are often at a point in their lives where they want to change their relationship with work. Retirement is now seen as less of a stage in people’s lives when they stop working completely, but more of a time of transition, when they either cut back on their hours or try something entirely new.
This way of thinking, no matter how it’s come about (be it financial need or otherwise) will almost certainly prove advantageous. For it will allow our senior citizens the flexibility to enjoy their later years whilst benefiting from the additional income and social rewards which can ultimately be gained by working past retirement age in a way they enjoy.

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