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Financial pressure will force many people to work beyond retirement age, survey finds

Royal London says almost three in 10 workers feel they will not be able to retire at 66, with another quarter working longer by choice

More than half the population expect to work beyond the State retirement age of 66, according to a new survey, with almost three in 10 saying they will have to do so in order to make ends meet.

People on lower earnings and those in their late 30s or early 40s are most likely to find themselves in this position, according to the figures from Royal London.

Among those who think they would like to work beyond retirement age as against feeling they will have to – just under one in four of all respondents – the view is most strongly held by younger workers and more prevalent among men than women.

Women are more likely to say they would take a lower pension in order to be able to retire earlier with men relatively more likely to opt to work longer for a higher pension. However, overall, four in 10 people said they would opt to retire early even for a lower pension, with just one in four choosing to work longer in return for a higher payout and just more than a third happy with the current retirement age.


Mark Reilly, pensions proposition lead at Royal London, said there was a clear difference in approach between those currently closer to retirement age, where just under one in three want to take their pension early, compared with those in the 25-34 age cohort where the figure is more than half.

“As suggested by these results, perspective and goals change greatly as you move through life,” he said. “The retirement you envisioned in your 20s and 30s might be very different to what you would like for yourself by the time you hit your 50s.”

One in 12 workers expects to retire in their mid-50s, with that view more strongly felt among men, those on lower earnings and those living in Connacht or Ulster. An additional 13 per cent of respondents said they expect to retire five years before the national retirement age, with women more likely to aim for this approach.

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle

Dominic Coyle is Deputy Business Editor of The Irish Times