Man leaning on car with sunset

Almost half of retirees stopped working early

3 minutes

6m people retire earlier than planned

Our Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme* explored why people may have retired early and whether they were financially ready if they did.

  • About a third said they retired early because they could afford to
  • Illness, stress and redundancy are common reasons for people retiring early
  • One in four retirees say they retired at least five years earlier than planned


Results from our survey told us that millions of people have in fact retired earlier than they had planned to. We found that nearly a third (31%) retired because they could afford to, with the next most common reason being because they simply didn’t want to work anymore. Other reasons for taking earlier retirement were ill health, injury and stress, as well as being made redundant or needing to care for a partner in poor health. 

One in four (3m) even said that they’d stopped working at least five years early, with men more likely to have done this than women, but worryingly 30% (4m) of all retirees said they weren’t in a good financial position when they stopped working.

Retiring early is a dream for millions of people and it is achievable for those who have been able to plan, save into a pension over a long period and have taken financial advice to achieve their goals

However, it can become a financial problem if retirement is forced upon people before they’ve had time to prepare. People retiring early have less time to save into a pension fund and their fund needs to last longer. They may need to accept a lower retirement income, perhaps consider releasing equity in their home, down-sizing or even taking on a part-time job. They also run a greater risk of running out of money.   

People planning for retirement should think hard about what they want to do when they eventually stop work. It is helpful to have a good idea of the lifestyle you want, how much it will cost and how you are going to pay for it. If you’re thinking about taking an early retirement, here are some things you may need to consider

Why not explore information about our retirement solutions and find articles about pensions and answers to questions you might have.

*The LV= Wealth and Wellbeing Research Programme is a quarterly survey of 4,000 UK adults to understand UK consumers and their attitudes to their personal finances and wellbeing. The statistics shown here are as a result of the survey we conducted in June 2022.