How realistic are Britons’ retirement age expectations?

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

  • 44% of Britons think they will retire by, or before, the current retirement age (66).
    •        Of those, only 54% have a clear financial plan in place for retirement.
    •        By comparison, only 28% of those planning to retire later have a clear plan.
  •        63% of early-retirement hopefuls know how many pension pots they have and how much is in them, compared to 51% among later retirees.

Research by SmartSave, a Chetwood Financial company, has found that more than two in five UK adults believe they will leave the workplace either at the current retirement age (66, rising to 67 in 2026) or before, despite many of them not having a clear financial plan in place for retirement.

The digital bank commissioned an independent, nationally representative survey of 2,000 UK adults, which reveals that only 54% of those planning an early retirement have a clear financial plan in place, dropping further (48%) amongst fifty-five-year-olds and above. This falls to 28% among those who plan to retire later.


 More than a third (37%) of early retirement hopefuls said that they don’t know how many pension pots they have and how much is in them, increasing to 49% among later retirees.

 Over two-fifths (43%) of those surveyed were prompted to contribute more to their retirement savings by rising interest rates, with over half (52%) planning to finance their retirement by relying primarily on their workplace pension.

 Of the 44% planning to retire by sixty-six, 58% still plan to work in some capacity – freelance, part-time, contractor – after retirement.


 Andy Mielczarek, Founder and CEO of SmartSave, a Chetwood Financial company, said: “Whilst many Britons hope to start enjoying retirement at the earliest early opportunity, it is clear that those expectations might be a little unrealistic for those who don’t plan ahead.

“The research seems to suggest that there is a knowledge gap between saver’s expectations for retirement and their realistic prospects. Nobody can afford to sleepwalk through preparing for later life, and Britons need to arm themselves with all the tools and resources at their disposal to secure for themselves the brightest possible future. Having a robust long-term strategy, checking up on pension pots regularly, and taking advantage of the best savings rates on the market can provide the leg up that these people need.                   

“The financial sector needs to do more to educate people about their financial wellbeing. Working with savers to help them fully understand their finances and establish healthy, lasting saving habits is an imperative for financial institutions, all of whom have a responsibility to help their customers make their retirement dreams possible.”


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