Almost two-thirds of UK adults focus solely on initial phase of retirement

Nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) of UK adults admit they focus on the early, active stages when thinking about retirement, a study from Standard Life has revealed.

The research, Bringing retirement into focus, discovered over half (52 per cent) of respondents avoided thinking about being older in retirement when they might be less mobile or in poorer health.

Standard Life warned that focusing on the earlier part of retirement “could mean retirees face a financial shortfall in later life”.

Those who were not yet retired thought they will be able to support their lifestyle until the age of 84, while those already in retirement expected to support themselves until 81, despite the latest figures showing that more than 600,000 people are aged 90 or over.

Additionally, 73 per cent per cent of respondents said they have done little or no planning around the amount of money needed to live on in retirement, while 28 per cent admitted they never review their long-term finances to check how things are progressing.

The company’s research also showed that planning can have a significant impact, with those who had prepared for the future expecting their funds to support them for 19 years, compared to just 11 years for those who have not done any planning.

Standard Life customer savings & investments managing director, Jenny Holt, commented: “I think it’s natural that the vast majority of people focus on the early retirement years, when they tend to be more active and in better health, and delay thinking about the later stages when they may be inactive or require care.

“It’s not easy to think about times in our lives when we might not be active or independent, however, this could leave a financial hole in later life, especially as we are living for longer and the time we spend in retirement is subsequently increasing.

“As we move away from defined benefit to defined contribution pensions, underestimating or not thinking about finances for the full duration of retirement could have a detrimental impact.

“It’s therefore crucial that people feel informed and engage with their retirement finances so they can have a financial future that lasts the full length of retirement.

“We don’t know when the inactive phase of retirement might begin, and it can be a difficult thing to think about, but it’s essential that we do.

“Having a plan in place brings peace of mind and can improve quality of life, and it’s important to be realistic about the duration of retirement, from the active stages to the less active ones.”

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