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Brits delaying retirement to keep brain and body active

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Written by: Emma Lunn
10/07/2019
Fear of mental and physical decline is prompting more people to remain in the workforce rather than retire, according to Aegon.

The pension firm’s global retirement study revealed that half (48 per cent) of UK workers see themselves delaying retirement and continuing to work beyond the age of 65. This compares to only one in five (22 per cent) of workers in France who expect to still be working at this stage of life. However, a staggering seven in 10 people in the Netherlands expect to prolong their working life beyond 65.

The Aegon research found only 28 per cent of workers in the UK want a “cliff edge” retirement, where they stop working in one go, the lowest across Europe and one of the lowest among the 15 countries surveyed. Workers in Spain, for example, are far more favourable to stopping work altogether and entering retirement, with 52 per cent keen on this option.

Surprisingly, the motivation for working longer isn’t just financial gain. Over half (55 per cent) of those in the UK who wanted to prolong their career identified keeping active and their brain alert as the most important benefit of continuing to work, while 37 per cent said they enjoyed their work.

The focus on maintaining good health and staying active through work, tallies with people’s concerns about later life. Declining physical health was cited as the largest retirement concern (48 per cent), followed by fears of Alzheimer’s or dementia (41 per cent). Both elements of failing health were seen as more of a concern than running out of money (40 per cent).

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “People are increasingly redefining their working years and time spent in retirement, choosing to blend work commitments with more free time as they transition into retirement. There’s also a growing recognition that in addition to supporting our wealth, work can protect our health too.

“An increasing State Pension age will explain why some see themselves having a longer working life, but the research shows an interesting association between health and remaining in paid employment. Today’s generation of workers recognise that one of the best way to protect their health is to remain active and that work can be part of an active life.”

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