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Redefining Retirement: Over half of over 65s do not believe the traditional concept of retirement still exists

Press release   •   Jul 26, 2018 00:01 BST

  • The number of over 65s in work has doubled since records began – as half (46%) now believe modern retirement is about redefining how work fits into your life
  • Only a third of over 65s now survive on the state pension alone (31%) – with one in ten (11%) seeing remortgaging, loans and equity release as sensible options to borrow money
  • One in five workers of pensionable age (18%) have already retired and then returned to work as they seek both routine and income support

Our understanding of the role of retirement in life is shifting as new research released today by the Post Office reveals that attitudes amongst those aged 65 and over are changing, as more than half feel the traditional concept of retirement no longer exists (55%). [i]

Redefining retirement

People aged 65 and over are the fastest growing age group in the UK[ii] which has helped to create a fundamental shift in our understanding of retirement. No longer a time to ‘wind down’, half of those aged 65 and over believe that modern retirement is about redefining how work fits into your life rather than ceasing work completely (46%).

The motivations for remaining in work are in some cases income-related, however the role of working status also is believed to be intrinsically linked to status in our society (58%) and a big determining factor in how we are perceived by others (58%). Also, the routine provided by employment is seen to provide a ‘sense of purpose’ to over 65s (59%).

This understanding of the role of work in our lives may be why the view of retirement is shifting as the population ages. So much so that nearly one in five people aged over 65 who are not currently retired(18%) attempted to do so in the past and then made the conscious decision to re-enter the workforce.

Retirement or riches?

The choice to retire is also fundamentally a financial consideration, whether it be with the additional support of part-time work or not. 64% of people aged 65 and over will depend on a regular income from a pension; a third living specifically on the state pension (31%). As a group, those of state pension age see their main goal as retaining financial stability (30%).

In the UK, over 65s have an average income which more or less matches their spending (£20,000 a year)[iii] and an additional buffer in the form of the combined assets they have amassed, totalling £47,000 on average.One of the assets they are most likely to see as a sensible way to access money is their property wealth, with one in 10 (11%) feel remortgaging, loans and equity release are potential options.

However, there are financial pressures that can impact the financial freedom of this group. For instance, as a generation, people aged over 65 in the UK are very likely to be called upon to provide significant financial support for their younger family members – one in four (26%) have done so already.

The solutions available to help over 65s outside of using their own assets, such as financial services products, can be limited.One in 10 (12%) feel access to products such as credit becomes restrictive as they age.

Chrysanthy Pispinis, Director, Post Office Money comments:

“Our findings demonstrate that the role retirement plays in people’s ambitions and goals for life is changing. While some people may need to remain in work for the income, we’ve seen that many actually enjoy working and the sense of purpose work provides. Whatever the personal reasons and circumstances, it’s clear that the over-65s are culturally redefining what retirement means to us collectively.

“Despite the growth of people aged over 65 in the UK, many feel their needs are not met by financial services providers: one in five (21%) told us they feel they need more products from the industry to meet their changing needs.

“Responding to these changing needs, Post Office has recently launched an innovative new mortgage called Retirement Link that is designed to support customers who want more financial flexibility in retirement, to enable their lives and goals.”


Notes to Editors:

For more information, please contact:

Emma Brown, Senior PR and Campaigns Manager at Post Office



0207 566 9702 / 0207 294 3638 / 0207 294 3643

About Post Office Money

Post Office Money, launched in January 2015, brings together all of Post Office’s multi-award winning financial products under one umbrella and seeks to better respond to ever changing customer needs, making sure the Post Office matters even more tomorrow than it does today. Post Office Money is available in branch, over the phone or online. Bank of Ireland has supported customers in the UK for many decades and provides financial services products to Post Office [Money] customers.

Winner of What Mortgage award for Best Variable Lender 2017.

[i] Unless otherwise stated, all research comes from Opinium Research. Opinium Research conducted 2,078 online interviews with over 50s, weighted to a nationally representative criteria between the 13th and 16th April 2018. 1,018 of these were among over 65s.

[ii]ONS, Labour Market Statistics

[iii]According to ONS, the average household expenditure of an over 65s household is £20,592

About the Post Office

Post Office Limited has an unrivalled national network of over 11,600 branches across the UK, more than all the high street banks combined, and sits at the heart of many communities across the country.

It provides around 170 different services and products spanning financial services including savings, insurance, loans, mortgages and credit cards. Post Office also offers Government services, telephony, foreign currency, travel insurance and mail services.

99.7% of people live within three miles of their nearest Post Office outlet. For many rural communities the Post Office is the only retail outlet. Post Offices remain highly valued and trusted and are the focal point for many communities. For more information, visit