Are approaches and attitudes to retirement planning changing?

6o March 2024

There was once a fairly simple perception of retirement – you worked at a company for 30 years, they gave you a watch, and then you went on permanent gardening leave. While this might have been the case for our parent's generation, this idea doesn’t hold true for the current world of work. Interested to find out current attitudes on retirement, we undertook an independent research survey of 2,000 UK adults.

We found that the majority of people in the UK are exploring a more diverse range of retirement strategies, inspired by both the current economic climate and a changing approach to work.

Traditional approach ‘less common’

While there was a healthy split between those who hoped to retire before the current retirement age of 66 (44%) and those who expect to retire later (42%), our research uncovered a prevailing belief among many UK adults that the traditional retirement approach is diminishing.

In fact, 73% of those anticipating retirement beyond the current pension age stated that the traditional notion of fully stopping work at a specific age is becoming less common.

Moreover, two-thirds (65%) of this group plan to engage in some form of part-time or freelance work even after entering retirement.

Our research also dug into the factors contributing to people’s changing attitudes towards retirement: a third (34%) of those planning to retire at 67 or later said that advances in technology, remote working, and the gig economy are blurring the line between working life and retirement.

Almost half (48%) of those predicting a late retirement said they want to keep working because they enjoy it, while 57% would do so to fund a better lifestyle in later life.

More generally, 54% of all survey respondents agreed with the statement that ‘the ability to “fully retire” is increasingly becoming a privilege that only the wealthy can afford’.

Adapting to changing needs

The research highlights that for millions of UK employees, the way they think about retirement is evolving. For many, it is no longer black and white – part-time work in later life will play a big part in how they transition into retirement, and this is not always out of financial necessity; our survey shows that there are a lot of people who want to keep working.

Given the rollercoaster that the UK economy and labour market have been on in recent years, it's important to acknowledge this change in mindset. The narrative of people being forced to work past retirement age, rather than doing so by choice, is far too simplistic. Instead, there ought to be a greater focus on education, support and banking products that cater to changing perceptions towards retirement and long-term financial management.

Whatever people decide when it comes to their retirement, it’s important to take the reins early on. Engage with your pension plan, chat with experts for advice, and keep an eye out for the best savings deals. One person’s ideal retirement plan will be different from the next. Whether you're keen on part-time gigs into your seventies or dreaming of fully retiring at 60, stay informed and embrace the change.

By being hands-on with your money and choices, you're setting the stage for a retirement that's both secure and tailored just for you.