Unlock the Path to Your Ideal Retirement Age

At a time when stars like Tom Cruise and Meg Ryan are embracing their early sixties, most Britons in their 50s envision 61 as the golden number age for ideal retirement. However, fresh data unfolds a sobering gap between dreams and a reality heading towards a retirement age of 69. What’s considered to be ideal retirement age though and how can the gap between retirement dreams and reality be bridged?

Key Points

  • Ideal Retirement Age Dream vs. Reality: Many envision retiring at 61 but the actual expected age is 69.
  • Financial Readiness: A significant portion of those nearing retirement age express concerns about financial stability post-retirement.
  • Pension Pot Tracking: 16% of respondents have lost track of the number of their pension pots.
  • Post-Retirement Aspirations: Family time, world travel, fitness, and learning new skills top the list of retirement plans.
  • Expert Advice: Early planning and regular contributions are recommended to secure financial stability for your ideal retirement.

Ideal Retirement: What Brits Look Forward To

A retired couple on holiday

For many, retirement dreams include time with family, world travel and exploration, fitness adventures, and learning and developing new skills. Looking at each of these in more detail:

Family Time

Family time emerges as the frontrunner in the expectations from an ideal retirement, with a remarkable 54% of respondents leaning towards this.

It perhaps signals a desire to grow deeper family connections, reminiscing about fond memories, and creating new ones in the comfort of familiar faces – generations coming together to share stories, laughter, and warmth and creating precious moments to cherish.

World Travel

Travelling the world emerges as a prominent ideal retirement aspiration with some 37% of respondents seeing this as key for their ideal retirement – perhaps it’s the lure of exploring diverse cultures, breathtaking landscapes and culinary delights from around the globe.

Fitness Endeavours

mature older lady exercising in a group outside

Next fitness endeavours come into focus with a significant 24% of individuals yearning to embark on a journey towards a healthier self. This reveals a conscious shift towards well-being and a holistic approach to life where physical fitness is not relegated to the sidelines, perhaps pushed to one side by the ever busy working life pre-retirement.

An ideal retirement for many provides an opportunity to indulge in disciplined routines, perhaps through yoga or dance classes or wider fitness activity such as walking or cycling and making the most of time outside in the fresh air.

Learning New Skills

A noteworthy 20% see their ideal retirement as providing the opportunity to take on more learning and self-improvement, acquiring new skills and hobbies that have perhaps not been possible pre-retirement through work and family commitments. Perhaps it’s time for some artwork, some painting, or learning a new language, or maybe trying a hand at cooking up some culinary delights.

Why the Gap Between Ideal Retirement Age and The Actual Retirement Age?

A pensioner in her garden

Retirement, seen as the golden period by many, seems to be drifting farther from the grasp of many Brits. Concerns include

ConcernPercentage of Respondents
Unsure about having enough for a comfortable retirement47%
Certain of not having enough to retire comfortably25%
Concerned about being able to fund retirement79%
Lost track of number of pension pots16%

Looking at each of these ideal retirement concerns in more detail:

Unsure About Having Enough For a Comfortable Retirement

Nearly half of the people who were asked are worried that they might not have saved enough money to enjoy their later years without financial stress. This group, making up 47% of respondents, are unsure if their savings pot will be enough to maintain a comfortable lifestyle once they stop working.

This reveals a common concern among people nearing retirement age, meaning there’s a real need to have a clear understanding of your financial standing and the expected cost of your desired ideal retirement lifestyle.

Certain of Not Having Enough to Retire Comfortably

A quarter of the respondents are even more certain about their financial future, but not in a positive way.

These individuals, accounting for some 25%, firmly believe that their savings will not be enough to support a comfortable and ideal retirement lifestyle.

This group sees retirement perhaps more as a challenge rather than a peaceful phase of life and may well need to be looking at ways to supplement their income to ensure an ideal retirement lifestyle.

Concerned About Being Able to Fund Retirement

A large group, constituting 79% of the people surveyed, are troubled with thoughts of how they will fund their retirement. They have genuine fears of not having enough to cover all the costs that come with retiring.

This suggests that a majority of individuals have considerable anxiety about the financial aspects of an ideal retirement, worrying about paying bills and also paying for potential health care needs and other unforeseen expenditures arising in their retirement years.

Lost track of number of pension pots

Finally, there’s a group of people, 16% of those surveyed, who have lost track of how many pension pots they have.

This means they have various savings or investment plans but are not quite sure about all the details. Losing track of pension pots can create confusion and potentially result in lesser funds during retirement.

This group points towards a need for better management and organization of financial resources to ensure a smoother transition into retirement. It may be beneficial for them to seek financial advice and regroup their investments more effectively to ensure they maximise what they have so that can enjoy retirement.

Building Your Ideal Retirement Pension Fund

A pension concept with older people sitting on a pile of money

Lily Sparrow, Senior Investment Consultant at Moneyfarm commented: “You cannot start paying into your pension pot early enough. There is no such thing as too soon in order to avoid this ‘retirement gap”.

She added “Making small changes early on in your working life is a lot easier than making huge sacrifices later on down the line when life’s financial obligations and challenges are that much greater.”

There are a range of diverse financial paths to being able to enjoy your ideal retirement.

For just over 51% of respondents, a mix of state, company and private pensions is the way forward. For some 16% though purely the state pension is what they’ll be using.

A quick look at what each of these types of pension are:

  • State pension provides you access to your state retirement benefit when you reach the defined pension age and is based on your National Insurance record. You can still get a State Pension if you have other income like a personal pension or a workplace pension. To prevent state pensioners from falling behind, the Triple Lock mechanism ensures the state pension rises each year by the higher of 2.5%, average wage growth, or inflation.
  • Workplace pension offers several benefits, but there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. It’s important to evaluate both sides to make an informed decision about participating in such a scheme – take a look at our article ‘Workplace Pension: How Does it Work?‘ for more information.
  • Personal pension is arranged by yourself and enables you to choose when and how much you pay in with the money normally being invested in shares. The amount you get paid through retirement then being based on how much you’ve paid in, how well your investments have done and how you take your money.

Other options to provide a pension fund or pot of money include sale of property (4%) and relying on inheritance (3%). Both perfectly valid, of course though subject to your personal circumstances.

Re-imagining Ideal Retirement: Semi-Retirement

Finally, another option, and perhaps surprisingly one that a significant 53% of respondents are ready to follow, is engaging in part-time roles as part of their ideal retirement set up.

This group envisages ideal retirement as a phase of reduced working hours rather than a complete stop to working. These are looking towards taking on side hustles, perhaps offering consultancy, or immersing themselves in volunteer work, all options that could work almost as a semi-retired person.

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