Pensions  

Brits want to retire at 61 but know they can't

Brits want to retire at 61 but know they can't

Almost half of all UK adults want to retire by the time they are aged 61 despite the fact many will not receive a state pension until they are 68, research by Now: Pensions has revealed.

The survey of 2,000 adults revealed 48 per cent of those who had not retired wanted to do so by the age of 61.

However, on average they did not expect to be able to afford to retire until age 64.

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The Danish-owned auto-enrolment provider pointed out this tendency was in stark contrast to the assumption of John Cridland's ongoing review of the state pension that people will increasingly have to work well into their 60s.

Now: Pensions' research found 69 per cent of people wanted to retire while they were still healthy enough to enjoy their retirement.

However, only 50 per cent said they were happy to save more into their workplace pension in order to do so.

Almost a third said they wanted to retire by 61 because they would be "tired of work" by that time, and wouldn't "feel motivated" to continue working.

One in five wanted to stop working at this age to help care for grandchildren, one in 10 to care for their elderly parents, while 18 per cent said they didn't think they would physically be able to work beyond 61.

Despite wanting to retire long before state pension age, many were realistic about their prospects of actually doing so: 41 per cent said they didn't want to work in later life but expected their financial situation would force them to.

Twenty-eight per cent, meanwhile, said they were happy to work into their 60s, but wanted to be able to work part time or flexibly.

Adrian Boulding, director of policy at Now: Pensions, said the research showed some people had realised that "what they want and what they can afford are two different things”.

“If people are going to use their auto-enrolment pension pots to bridge the gap between early retirement and state pension age, then they are going to have to pay more into them first," he said.

"The increase in auto-enrolment contributions past 8 per cent is something we’ve lobbied for [for] a while, and we firmly believe that this is something that needs to be addressed in the imminent 2017 auto-enrolment review,” he said.

Graeme McColgan, a financial planner with Million Plus Financial Planning, said in his experience people were overly optimistic about when they could retire, particularly those with only defined contribution pensions.

He said he often speaks to people in their 30s who assume they will be able to retire when they are 55.

"I don't think there is enough education about how much you need in a pot to retire at that age," he said, adding that people often "pluck a number out of the sky".

Mr McColgan said with the rise of DC and auto-enrolment, advisers had a new role in helping employers educate their employees about their retirements. 

james.fernyhough@ft.com