‘No desire to retire:’ Half of UK adults plan to work after they have ‘retired’

More than half (52%) of UK adults say they plan to work at least part-time during their retirement, according to new research on retirement trends by Fidelity International.

The average age people say they expect to retire from their primary job is 66, yet the study reveals an emerging ‘No Desire to Retire’ generation with 45% expecting to work into their 70s, and almost one in ten (9%) into their 80s or beyond.

Longevity continues to improve, with average life expectancy at birth in the UK in 2016 to 2018 at 79.3 years for men and 82.9 years for women.1 A child born today can expect to live more than a decade longer than a child born in the 1950s.2 This has had a knock-on effect on working patterns, with recent statistics from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) showing that the proportion of those aged over 70 in full- or part-time employment has doubled in the past decade.3

Maike Currie, director for workplace investing at Fidelity International, said: “With 60 now widely seen as ‘the new 40’, today’s so-called retirees are healthier, living longer, and retiring at different ages. So, it is unsurprising that people have no desire to retire and are defying traditional expectations.

“The economic power of those who were once considered ‘past it’ can now be felt everywhere. This will transform the jobs market as more people work into their late 60s or even early 70s and they will have a growing influence on consumer spending as pension reforms allow them to cash in their lifetime savings and spend the money as they wish.”

With the Government unlikely to consider any more increases to the state pension age (the last ones were finalised as recently as 2017), today’s ‘no desire to retire’ generation face some significant challenges to ensure their finances are stable for when they retire. However, as Currie points out there’s plenty they can do, whatever their age or level of saving, to maximise their pension saving in preparation: “If you’re contributing to a workplace pension, make sure that you are maximising any help that your employer offers. Many companies will match what you’re paying, up to a certain level, so make the most of it.”

Maike Currie added: “Beyond that, try to increase your contributions if you can. We have a number of calculators to help you figure out how much you need to retire, or show you what a big difference paying in just a small amount extra can make. For example, a 30-year-old today earning £30,000 could contribute an extra 1% of their salary and then retire at age 68 with an extra £55,345 in their retirement fund. This example assumes that wages will grow by 3.75% and that the return on invested contributions is 5%.”4

Fidelity International’s latest research also reveals those with the highest household incomes (with an annual income of more than £50,000) are more likely than those on lower incomes to plan to work in their retirement (58% compared with 50%). This suggests that for some, choice plays a part in their decision. This seems particularly true given those higher earners expect to retire from their main job an average of two years earlier. Those with a household income of more than £50,000 expect to retire at 65, while for those earning under £50,000 the retirement age increases to 67.

Similarly, Londoners were far more likely to have plans to continue working into their retirement (64% vs a national average of 52%), despite expecting to ‘retire’ at 65 – earlier than any other part of the country.

Maike Currie added: “Retirement is no longer the cliff edge it used to be – the important thing, however, is to have choice. Whether that be to work, to retire completely, or somewhere in between, it’s important for people to hit retirement age free from money worries, and with the ability to continue the lifestyle they have become accustomed to. The solution lies in having a plan and knowing the amount they need to put away each month. This way, working in retirement can remain a choice, rather than a necessity.”

Author: Editorial Team

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