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More than two-thirds of employees plan to work beyond the current retirement age

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More than 33 million or 68% of UK adults intend to work beyond their current standard retirement age, according to Aviva's latest Real Retirement Report.

The report found while a third (31%) of people would like to retire between the ages of 61 and 65, nearly as many (29%) see themselves giving up work between 66 and 70.

One in eight (12%) plan to work beyond the age of 70, and a conscientious one in 10 (10%) don't believe that they will ever stop working. The typical age of intended retirement for all adults questioned is 66 years.   

Self-employment (61%) is seen as the top employment option in retirement for the over 55s followed by retail work (44%) and leisure/hospitality work (27%). The over 55s' willingness to embrace self-employment - which offers freedom and flexibility - highlights the developing trend of gradual retirement.

The top reason for working is to improve financial standing (60%) followed by ‘keeping out from under their partner's feet' (54%). Keeping their mind active and interacting with others were also important to nearly half of respondents.

Men are more likely than women to think there aren't any benefits to working past retirement (a third of men vs a quarter of women). But women are less likely than men to work to improve their finances. Instead, they see keeping their minds active (men - 42% vs women - 47%) and interacting with others (men - 40% vs women - 47%) as key benefits of employment.

As people age, they see work increasingly as an option to keep them from under their partner's feet (55-64  year-olds - 52%; 65-74 year-olds - 57%; 75 and over - 58%), perhaps reflecting the reality of having an additional 7.5 hours a day to spend together.

A significant four in 10 (41%) of over-55s say they would continue working for their current employer beyond their official retirement date if possible. Of those a quarter (24%) would opt for flexible retirement while 13% would continue to work full time. Somewhat worryingly, one in 20 (5%) say this is not an option for them due to the enforced retirement date at their current place of work.

While the majority of people intend to work beyond the traditional retirement age, ill health might see this ambition abandoned. Indeed, it is estimated that as many as eight million over 50s will be obese - and dealing with the associated health issues - by 2025.  Currently, ill health is cited by around 40% of retirees as the reason behind giving up work, so this has significant implications for the UK in the future.

Clive Bolton, retirement director for Aviva Life, said: "Government proposals mean that the state retirement age is set to increase over the next few years, but it appears that many UK adults already see themselves working well past the traditional retirement age. While increasing financial security is a major factor behind many people working, there are also significant emotional, social and intellectual benefits.

"Keeping minds active, staying out from under their partner's feet and enjoying social interaction appear to be real benefits that are pushing people to keep working. Gradual or part-retirement appears to be a very real choice for many older people rather than the traditional rigid retirement age.

"However, with 61% of people seeing self-employment - flexible but occasionally uncertain employment - as the best career choice for retirement, it is still important to ensure that sensible financial plans are made to boost income after the traditional retirement age. Indeed, we have found that ill health is cited by around four in 10 retirees as the reason for giving up work and as this cannot be predicted, it needs to be carefully planned for."