Reluctant retirees

Over 65s least likely to clock off for good

  • One in ten never want to retire, with over 65s twice as reluctant to give up work
  • Workers over 50 expect to retire aged 64 as a fifth work for longer than hoped
  • Financial matters prevent a third from achieving their intended retirement age

Traditional retirement could be dying out as one in ten UK adults vow never to hang up their boots and a further one in eight expect to be between the ages of 71 and 80 when they do, according to a joint study by Co-op Funeralcare and Co-op Legal Services.

As part of a series of studies released ahead of Co-op’s over 50’s report, the research* highlights that those aged 65 and over are most reluctant to give up work (18 %). This is in stark contrast to those aged 18-24, with just 8 percent believing they’ll never retire.

Findings reveal that the likelihood of an early retirement varies greatly across the UK. Older workers in the East are likely to remain in work longest, clocking aged 66. Whilst the 50 plus generation hope to retire aged 64 on average, Londoners are the most likely to want to keep working, with 14 per cent having no intention to retire. This is in contrast, the Welsh, who are least likely to have no plans to ever retire (4%) and expect to finish work five years earlier than those in the East (age 61).

Amongst those retiring later than hoped, for many** this is a lifestyle choice. A fifth (21%) chose to work for longer because they liked their job, whilst 18% remained employed but cut down their hours. A further one in eight said their employer was reluctant to lose them, whilst one in thirteen said they didn’t want to slow down and a tenth wanted to save for retirement travel plans.

With the weekly household disposable income for over 50’s now standing at £306, financial concerns are a key reason for delaying retirement. As many as 22% of the over 50’s have kept working due to a lack of retirement funds with 16% saying they work still to make ends meet. For 11% retirement wasn’t an option due to having debts to pay off, whilst 7% still had mortgage repayments to fulfil and 9% needed an income to fund increasing gas and electric bills. A further 8% kept working due to financially supporting their children for longer than expected.

The gender pay gap also has a knock-on effect in later life with women £90 a week worse off than men also aged 50 plus. This also appears to be putting women off retirement with one in ten never intending to stop working in comparison to just one in fifteen men.

James Antoniou, Head of Wills at The Co-operative Legal Services said: “It’s understandable that as a nation of workers, UK adults are keen to continue to work for as long as they can. However, with a third of over 50’s delaying retirement due to financial concerns, the findings also highlight the importance of planning early for later life.”

“As life expectancy continues to rise and with our working lives now extending into later life, it is easier than ever to put off practical decisions. Perhaps a symptom of this is the finding that as many as a quarter (25%) of over 65’s are still yet to make a will. It is concerning to think that whilst we work so hard to support our loved one’s in life, a lack of planning for the future may mean all we have worked for may not eventually go to those it’s intended for.”

For further information contact

Emily Penkett

PR Manager

Lauren Pogson

Senior PR Manager

Catherine Turner

Head of PR