Half of pensioners retired earlier than planned

Half (50 per cent) of people currently in retirement stopped working earlier than they had planned to, new research from Aegon has revealed.

Among the key issues affecting peoples' decision on when to retire were personal health concerns and care responsibilities for family members.

Aegon found that 68 per cent workers over 50 feared that failing health would influence their decision on when to retire, while 49 per cent identified caring for a parent or partner as a likely reason to stop working.

Its study also found that 5 million (nearly 50 per cent) workers aged over 50 would prefer a gradual retirement, starting at the age of 63 with a 3 year “gradual flight path”, that would involve reduced working hours, before fully retiring at 66 years and 6 months old.

Some respondents also revealed that they were concerned that discrimination would force them out of the workplace, with 35 per cent of workers aged over 50 saying that ageism would influence their decision to retire.

Commenting on the findings, Aegon pensions director, Steven Cameron said: “We have a record number of over-50s in the workforce, with this age group making up almost a third of all workers.

“Older workers make an extremely valuable contribution to the economy and the trend to working later in life should be encouraged given how life expectancies have risen in recent decades.

“However, we should remember that the path to retirement isn’t always a smooth one and while people may want to work for longer and spend three years phasing into retirement, unexpected factors can come into play, and ultimately take the choice out of their hands.

“People are worried that ill health, caring responsibilities or ageism may mean they have to give up work sooner than they’d like or had planned to do and that can have a significant impact on their finances.

“To cope with unexpected events it’s important to ensure you prepare well in advance for the retirement you want and seek financial advice to give yourself as much flexibility as possible.”

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