It was once a time when people left work with a fanfare and possibly a gold watch, then settled down with a pipe and slippers to live out the rest of their days in peace and quiet.
But today’s pensioners are opting to gradually scale back work rather than stop completely in a new phenomenon being dubbed “pretirement”.
The gradual reduction in working hours – or cutting back from a more stressful role to more laid-back employment – has become the new retirement reality.
One in three of those questioned by Prudential who are considering working past the retirement age are doing so because they enjoy work, the report said, while more than a third said they do not feel ready to give up their occupation.
However, more than one in ten said they would have to continue working because they could not afford to give up their salary.
Stan Russell, a retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “Our research has shown that a period of ‘pretirement’, where people choose to delay their retirement plans, change jobs, earn a living from a hobby, or go part-time, instead of giving up work altogether, has become the new norm for retirees in recent times.
“However, not everyone is lucky enough to be able to make the choice – many will find themselves having to work on for financial reasons, while others may be forced to give up work for health reasons.”
People planning to give up work this year expect their retirement to last for an average of just over 20 years, and with that in mind around a quarter of those who would consider working past their state pension age said they do not like the idea of retiring and being at home all the time for such a long period.
The research also showed that those who are delaying retirement this year because they cannot afford it feel they are unlikely to be able to give up work completely until they are nearly 70 years old – although they would have preferred to retire at 64.
Keith Robson, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “There are a variety of reasons why older people choose to work beyond the state retirement age. These range from increasing life expectancy, financial pressures and a continuing desire to make a positive contribution.”
Matt Bath, spokesman for over-50s specialists Saga, said: “While for many people continuing work will help boost their income ready for retirement, our research has found that many people are simply not ready to give up the social side of work and that working keeps them both mentally and socially active.”