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Nearly half of over 45s say they ‘can’t afford to retire’

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Three-quarters (75%) of people aged 45 and over across the UK said they dream of retiring in the next five years, according to HSBC.

But of these, 45% claim they are unable to. Nearly nine in 10 (87%) of those who are unable to retire when they want blame financial constraints, such as having children who rely on their income, having debts to pay off or not having enough money saved.

Working men were more likely than women to face at least one of these barriers to their retirement dreams, the report found.

Nearly one in four (23%) people aged 45-plus who wanted to retire in the next five years said their work was having a negative impact on their health.

More than half (58%) wanted to retire to have the freedom to travel or pursue other interests, 35% would like to spend more time with their family, 14% want to join their partner’s retirement plans and one in 10 (10%) would like to pursue another career or take up voluntary work.

People in the UK were more likely than people globally to say that their personal circumstances were a barrier to their retirement plans, the report found.

Across more than 18,000 people surveyed across 17 countries, including Australia, Canada, France, China, India, Singapore and the United States, 38% of over-45s said their circumstances meant they were unable to fulfil their dream of retiring in the next five years.


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More than 2,000 people were surveyed in the UK for the report.

It found that in the UK, the desire to retire among those aged 45-plus is similar to that in China, where 75% of people also wanted to retire in the next five years, although it is less strong than in Argentina and France, where 78% and 77% of people respectively wanted to retire in the next five years.

Across the global survey, 65% of people aged 45 and over would like to retire within the next five years if their circumstances allowed it.

The proportion of people within the UK who expect that they may never be able to fully retire has also increased in the last year, the Future of Retirement report found.

Some 12% of those surveyed in the UK expect that they will never fully retire, up from 10% when similar research was carried out a year ago.

Across the whole survey, 18% of pre-retirees worldwide predicted that they will never be able to fully retire.

The HSBC report highlighted four steps to help people’s retirement preparations:

  • Start saving earlier to boost your chances of retiring when you want to.
  • Plan for a longer retirement and ensure you have a financial plan in place.
  • Aim for a healthy retirement. Do not wait until you have stopped working to start taking steps to improve your health.
  • Consider how your healthcare needs may change in your retirement and include this in your planning.