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UK Adults Want to Work Past Retirement Age as WFH Blurs the Line between Work and Retirement

Research from SmartSave, a Chetwood Financial company, has revealed that there is only a two per cent difference in favour of UK adults who believe they will retire at 66 or younger, and those who believe they will work past the current state pension age.

The SmartSave research surveyed 2,000 UK adults and found that 42 per cent of adults think they will retire past 66 (the current retirement age, which is set to rise to 67 in 2026). Meanwhile, the traditional attitude of retiring at the retirement age was supported by 44 per cent.

The vast majority (73 per cent) of the second group (those who think they will retire past the current pension age) said that the traditional approach to retirement – fully stopping work at a particular age – is becoming less common. Two-thirds (65 per cent) of this group envisage doing some form of part-time or freelance work even once they enter retirement.

The research highlighted several factors contributing to people’s changing attitudes towards retiring. A third (34 per cent) of those planning to retire at 67 or later stated that advances in technology, remote working, and the gig economy blur the line between working life and retirement.

Almost half (48 per cent) of those predicting a late retirement said they want to keep working beyond the state pension age, while 57 per cent would do so to fund a better lifestyle in later life.

More generally, 54 per cent 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’.

Retirement is no longer black and white
Andy Mielczarek, Founder and CEO, Chetwood Financial
Andy Mielczarek, Founder and CEO, Chetwood Financial

Andy Mielczarek, founder and CEO of SmartSave, a  Chetwood Financial Company, said: “The cost-of-living crisis has undoubtedly affected people’s ability to save and prepare for retirement. But there’s an important and often-overlooked question we need to ask: do the traditional notions of retirement still hold up?

“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 a financial necessity, but the 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 is vitally important we recognise this shift in attitudes. 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.”

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