Changing retirement trends

Why the concept of a ‘hard stop’ retirement is becoming less prevalent

New research reveals that more than a quarter (28%) of individuals aged 25 to 54 do not foresee a complete retirement in their future[1]. This suggests the concept of a ‘hard stop’ retirement is becoming less prevalent among those considered to be in their prime working years. This emerging trend reflects a significant shift in how modern workers approach their career trajectories and financial planning.

With evolving economic conditions, increasing life expectancy, and a growing desire for personal fulfilment, many individuals are rethinking when and how they will retire. Instead of aiming for a traditional endpoint to their professional lives, they are exploring flexible work arrangements, part-time opportunities, and phased retirement plans that allow them to gradually reduce their workload while maintaining an active role in their careers.

Gen X faces unique challenges
Among Gen X, those aged between 45 and 54, one in three (31%) believe it is unlikely they will ever fully retire. This highlights the pressures the ‘sandwich generation’ faces in their 40s and 50s, who may be caring for both elderly parents and their own children while also needing to manage their own expenses.

This group falls between those who benefit from final salary pensions and younger generations who benefit from auto-enrolment. Similarly, more than a quarter (27%) of millennials do not think they will ever completely retire, with 28% of 25—to 34-year-olds and 26% of 35—to 44-year-olds sharing this sentiment.

Millennials and retirement
Older millennials are likely to face similar pressures to those encountered by Gen X, with auto-enrolment being introduced while they were already in their 20s. A gender disparity also emerges among the survey respondents.

Just one in three women (33%) believe they are likely to completely retire, compared to almost half (47%) of men. A quarter (25%) of Britons also say they do not envisage retiring before the age of 70, and almost a third (30%) want to continue earning to maintain their existing lifestyle.

Continuing beyond retirement age
Over a fifth of the total survey respondents, including 13% of those aged 55 or above, do not think they will ever completely retire. However, not all respondents cite constraints on their retirement ability as reasons for staying in the workforce.

One in six (16%) of those who do not think they will ever completely retire say they enjoy working and aim to continue beyond retirement age. This suggests a changing attitude among those in employment towards the notion of reaching an endpoint in their working lives.

Growing importance of family finances
Almost 10% of those surveyed express a desire to allocate part of their pension pot for their next of kin or relatives. This is cited as a reason to remain in the workforce, aiming to build up their savings further.

Additionally, attitudes towards retirement are noticeably changing. The once prevalent idea that retirement is a fixed event occurring on a predetermined date is increasingly becoming outdated. Significant numbers of individuals are now questioning whether they will ever fully retire.

Uncertainty among Gen X
Uncertainty seems most pronounced among the mid-life Generation X cohort. For this group, retirement is close enough to be a consideration but too far away to be a certainty. This demographic is uniquely positioned, balancing immediate financial responsibilities with long-term retirement planning.

The encouraging news for retirement savers is that they now have more control over their futures than ever before. They can choose when to utilise their retirement savings, and modern technology enables them to manage their money conveniently and efficiently.

Technological advancements
Technology has revolutionised the way individuals handle their retirement funds. Savers can now monitor and adjust their investments in real time, ensuring their money always works effectively for them. This flexibility allows for a more personalised and responsive approach to retirement planning.

Record numbers of people are proactively saving for their retirement. By taking control of our savings, we position ourselves more favourably to control our retirement, ultimately creating a more secure financial future.

Source data:
[1] Research was conducted by Censuswide between 25th – 27th March 2024 of 2000 general consumers, aged 16+, national representative sample. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of the British Polling Council. 

THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE TAX OR LEGAL ADVICE AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS SUCH. TAX TREATMENT DEPENDS ON THE INDIVIDUAL CIRCUMSTANCES OF EACH CLIENT AND MAY BE SUBJECT TO CHANGE IN THE FUTURE. FOR GUIDANCE, SEEK PROFESSIONAL ADVICE.

A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT NOT NORMALLY ACCESSIBLE UNTIL AGE 55 (57 FROM APRIL 2028 UNLESS THE PLAN HAS A PROTECTED PENSION AGE).

THE VALUE OF YOUR INVESTMENTS (AND ANY INCOME FROM THEM) CAN GO DOWN AS WELL AS UP, WHICH WOULD HAVE AN IMPACT ON THE LEVEL OF PENSION BENEFITS AVAILABLE.

YOUR PENSION INCOME COULD ALSO BE AFFECTED BY THE INTEREST RATES AT THE TIME YOU TAKE YOUR BENEFITS.

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