Mental wellbeing top reason to continue working

Staying mentally active in order to maintain mental sharpness was the main reason over-50s wanted to extend their working life and enter retirement gradually, according to new research from Aegon.

Its study found that 59 per cent of workers over-50 said that “maintaining mental sharpness” was one of the reasons they did not want to give up work completely.

A sense of purpose was the second most popular reason for a gradual retirement, with 44 per cent citing it as a factor, while 39 per cent of those surveyed said that social engagement was an element in favouring gradual retirement.

Commenting on the research, Aegon pensions director, Steven Cameron stated: “For today’s over 50s it goes beyond earning an income and is more about the increasing evidence to suggest that it’s good for not just your wealth but your health.

“Workers see transitioning into retirement as having the best of all worlds - benefitting mentally and socially from work, continuing to receive an income and enjoying more leisure time.”

However, it is not just mental benefits that encouraged people to continue working, with 42 per cent saying that the need for additional money to supplement a pension was a major consideration.

More women than men cited the need for additional funds as a reason for gradual retirement, with 48 per cent of women compared to 39 per cent of men naming it as a factor.

The thought of stopping work altogether and completely retiring was a concern for 27 per cent of workers over 50, with 11 per cent of them saying they were anxious about the thought.

Furthermore, 19 per cent of respondents believed that, beyond the initial excitement, the novelty of not working would be “short lived”.

Cameron added: “Work is fulfilling for a variety of reasons and is a big part of a person’s identity, which makes stepping away from it a more difficult decision.

“Our research shows that workers over 50 appreciate that working provides so much more than just financial security. It gives us a purpose, a sense of self-esteem, keeps our brains nimble as well as offering social interaction.

“These are all seen as important and the key reasons people want to blend work and retirement, before stopping altogether.”

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