The Pensions Policy Institute has released a study finding that around a half of the United Kingdom's current over 50s will have to save more and work longer if they want an adequate income in retirement. Due to the dramatic increases in life expectancy, the vast majority of the over 50s who are working (around 85%) might have sufficient state and private pension income to meet a minimum acceptable standard of living in retirement if they continue to work and save until they are eligible to receive their state pension, but for many people an income in retirement at this level is unlikely to be considered adequate.
According to "Retirement income and assets: the implications for retirement income of Government policies to extend working lives," around 40% of today’s over 50s who are still working might have sufficient state and private pension income to have a retirement income that would allow them to replicate their full living standards in retirement, and a further 10% of the over 50s might have such sufficient pension income if they continue to work and save for between one and five years after their state pension age. However, 5% of today’s over 50s might have to work and save for between six and ten years after that age and a further 45% would have to work and save for 11 years or more to replicate their working life living standards in retirement.
The report also notes, however, that while the proportions of people working at older ages has increased, many people are compelled to leave work before state pension age due to circumstances beyond their control, such as health problems or the need to provide care for a family member. On the other hand, the report also notes that people in the highest wealth quintile are more than twice as likely to retire voluntarily before reaching their state pension age, than people in the middle wealth quintile, and that those with a Defined Benefit pension are almost twice as likely to retire voluntarily before their state pension age than those with no private pension income.
Sources: Pensions Policy Institute News Release (April 25, 2012); The Independent "Half of over-50s will be forced to work until age 77" (April 28, 2012)