State of Retirement 2017: Optimism and adventure to retirement

3 minutes

Chapter 3 of the State of Retirement report tracks the typical financial circumstances for retirees, before and at retirement age and the concerns and pressures they face.

Continued confusion over pensions reforms

Ahead of the deadline for responses to the Work and Pensions Select Committee [1] inquiry into how pension freedoms are working, new research from LV= explores how retirees are coping after the pension reforms.

The pension freedoms back in 2015 meant that people have more flexibility and choice when it comes to their retirement. However, three years on since these changes were announced, research [2] found only one in five UK adults would confidently say they’re familiar with the new rules.

Changing attitudes of retirees

Despite some people not being fully confident when it comes to planning for their retirement since the pension freedoms, other retirees attitudes are changing, specifically when it comes to how their spending their retirement.

While 55% of retirees surveyed are making the most of time with family, 60% of people said that stopping working has opened up new opportunities, for example to pursue their hobbies and nearly one in five are using their retirement to learn new skills. Also, as the first chapter explores, holidays are high on the agenda for a lot of retirees and many expect their retirement income to cover these trips away.

Looking towards the future, the trend of retirees using their retirement time to explore new opportunities and experiences may continue, with more than two in five thinking their retirement will be exciting.

Also, the younger people surveyed voiced more travelling dreams, with a quarter of 18-24 year olds seeing themselves heading to New Zealand after they've retired. However, although the 45-54 year old group like the idea of holidays in retirement, 33% said this doesn’t feature in their vision of retirement. This could be because they are closer to retirement, so feel the pressure of their finances needed to last.

The blurred transition between work and retirement

While the pension freedoms have changed the attitudes of retirees, it’s also changed the way people transition between work and retirement. Of those surveyed who are not retired, 20% do not plan on retiring at all, and 46% are happy to keep working past the traditional retirement age.

In addition to this, although the figures suggest people don’t mind working into their retirement, it seems many people feel they need to work in retirement in order for their income to stretch. The survey found 66% of 35-44 year olds believe their pension pot to be about £50,000 or less, and this group also estimated they would need a monthly income of £1,454 to live comfortably in retirement, this would mean their £50,000 would last just under three years before it would all be gone. This reveals that money and lack of awareness over how much people have in their pension pot is a factor in stopping people from achieving their retirement goals.

While it’s positive that people are opting for a different kind of retirement, with more flexibility and opportunity, it means that it’s more important than ever for people to understand their options and seek financial advice so they can best prepare to make the most of this new chapter.

Helping people make informed and active decisions

While Chapter 2 of State of Retirement talks about the fact that many people are losing money by sticking with the same pension provider, this report reveals that 19% of people didn’t feel confident enough that they could make the decision to switch.

Until shopping around for annuities and pensions becomes the norm for people at retirement, they are less likely to get a good deal and improve their income.

The value of financial advice

One of the best ways to maximise retirement income and ensure you can live how you want once you stop working is to speak to a professional financial adviser.

Professional retirement financial advisers will search the market for the best deal and advice on the best product, or products to suit a client. While this seems like the best way to give people the confidence that they have enough money for the financial future, the numbers of those taking advice are still low.

Only 25% of those who have already retired have taken financial advice to help them with their financial decision and 78% of over 55s have no plans to see a financial adviser.

However, people who have retired and did spend time with an adviser found this helpful, with 75% saying that it helped them get more from their money.

Optimism for retirement futures

While LV=’s report finds the trend of viewing retirement more positively is set to continue, with future generations similarly optimistic – there is still work to be done in terms of addressing those people who don’t realise the importance of engaging with their pensions at an earlier point so they have time to take control of their retirement future.

The House of Commons Work and Pensions Select Committee will be conducting an inquiry into whether the freedoms are working as intended which is a great step towards ensuring people are getting the most from the pension freedoms. [1]

LV=’s handy pension calculator allows people to check whether they’re on track for retirement and how much their pension is likely to be worth as an income at retirement.


[1] The Work & Pensions Committee has launched a new inquiry into whether and how far the pension freedom and choice reforms are achieving their objectives.

[2] Methodology for consumer survey: Opinium, on behalf of LV=, conducted online interviews with 1,521 UK adults between 15th and 19th September 2017. Data has been weighted to reflect a nationally representative audience.