A new independent survey of 2,000 UK adults has found:


  • 42% expect to retire after the current state pension age (66). Of those…
    • 73% believe the traditional approach to retirement – fully stopping work at a particular age – is becoming less common
    • 65% envisage doing some part-time work in ‘retirement’

The majority of UK adults believe the traditional approach to retirement is becoming less common, with many planning to carry on part-time work even once retired, new research by SmartSave, a Chetwood Financial company, has found.

The digital bank commissioned an independent, nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults. It found that 44% of those still in work believe they will retire at 66 or younger, compared to 42% who expect to retire past the current state pension age (66, set to rise to 67 in 2026).

The vast majority (73%) 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%) 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 retirement. A third (34%) 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%) of those predicting a late retirement said they want to keep working beyond the state pension age, 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’.
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.”
About the research 
The market research was carried out between 1st and 6th February 2024 among 2,000 UK adults via an online survey by independent market research agency Opinium. Opinium is a member of the Market Research Society (MRS) Company Partner Service, whose code of conduct and quality commitment it strictly adheres to. Its MRS membership means that it adheres to strict guidelines regarding all phases of research, including research design and data collection; communicating with respondents; conducting fieldwork; analysis and reporting; data storage. The data sample of 2,000 UK adults is fully nationally representative, ensuring the respondents are weighted by age, gender, region, employment status and political views

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