A fifth do not expect to retire until after age 70

Folders with the label Retirement Plan and Pension

Just over a fifth of respondents do not expect to be able to retire until they are in their seventies, according to research by Willis Towers Watson.

Its Global benefits attitudes survey, which interviewed UK-based 1,895 workers, also found that employees who expect to work for longer are less healthy, more stressed and less engaged than those who expect to retire earlier. More than half (51%) of respondents who expect to retire after the age of 70 have high or above average stress levels, compared to 36% of those who plan to retire at 65, and 36% of those who expect to retire after 70 say they are in poor or fair health, compared to 16% expecting to retire at age 65.

The report also found that each gender differs in their retirement expectations. For example, 25% of female respondents expect to retire aged 70 or above, compared to 19% of male respondents.

In addition, 37% of female respondents in their 20s are confident they will have saved enough to live comfortably for 25 years in retirement, compared to 56% of male respondents in this age group who said the same.

The survey also found:

  • 30% of respondents under 40 expect to retire in their 70s or later, falling to 15% among those in their 40s and 12% in their 50s.
  • Two-thirds (66%) who are struggling financially expect to work beyond 65, compared to 28% who are not worried about their finances.

Fiona Matthews, managing director of Lifesight, Willis Towers Watson’s master trust, said: “These new figures put into sharp focus the worries that British workers have about their long-term savings and financial security in old age. This is already causing stress and having a negative impact on their health.

“Although employment levels are good and wages are rising, many employees are worried about long-term financial stability. They are anticipating longer careers and for many, working longer is the only way to achieve security in retirement.

“British employers need to understand their employees’ differing concerns, needs and lifestyles to help them build a tailored retirement plan.

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“The pension reforms and Financial Advice Market Review are all adding to the pressure for employers to provide good-quality pensions and retirement planning for staff.

“Employers face a potential challenge if employees extend their careers and productivity declines. This survey certainly provides more evidence that there is a long way to go before people can be confident of a financially secure retirement.”