But for some people approaching retirement age, the idea of leaving work is unimaginable - with 6 per cent of over 50s who have not yet retired saying they never plan on doing so.
A study found that although having enough money to do the things they want to do was a big concern for 41 per cent of those questioned, one in five people said they were worried about losing the social aspect of work, with the same number also worried about being bored with too much time on their hands.
The research, conducted by YouGov for Retirement Advantage, also suggests nearly half of the over 50s expect to switch to part time work when they retire, and a further fifth expect to take on an unpaid voluntary role.
Financial returns on investments and pensions have been poor in recent years as interest rates remain at an all-time low.
Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at Retirement Advantage, said: “What people want and expect from retirement has changed. A significant minority of the over 60s are not planning to retire.
“While this might sound extreme, for many people it’s about quality of life, staying active and engaged in society without the pressures of full-time work. But we shouldn’t ignore the fact that for some people this will be a necessity to boost income.”
He added: “The research demonstrates the traditional idea of a cliff edge retirement at state pension age is well and truly in the past. What we’re seeing instead is a phased approach, where retirees expect to continue to work in some capacity beyond traditional retirement age.”
While some pensioners opt to cut back the number of hours they spend in the workplace, but continue to do a similar role, others move into the voluntary sector or switch to a job which is more low pressure than their previous career.
Mr Tully added: “The high number of people hoping to move into unpaid voluntary roles highlights how important continuing to make a contribution is for many people, as well as their desire to avoid losing the social aspects of work.”
Lisa Harris, head of communications for retirement specialists Saga, said: “It’s great news many older workers they are continuing in work because they want to. Not only do they value the opportunity to remain in work to use their experience and skills, they are also doing so in order to remain socially active.
“Whilst many continue in their jobs, a large number are retraining in order to start their own business or to change direction for their extra year’s of work.”
She said separate research by Saga showed that the vast majority of Scots retirees still in work do so for financial - rather than social - reasons.
She added: “However it’s also worth noting that due to poor retirement investment returns, 80 per cent of those in Scotland have also said that whilst they enjoy work, a major consideration is to boost income.”
‘Do what makes you happy in retirement’ says former CBI boss
SIR Iain McMillan, 64, former director of CBI Scotland, retired from the post last September. Since then, he has taken on a number of part-time roles, including chair of the Scottish North America Business Council and Workplace Chaplaincy Scotland, as well as sitting on the advisory board of Strathclyde Business School and the advisory committee of Skillforce.
He is also Honorary Air Commodore of 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron and heads the independent Commission for Competitive and Fair Taxation in Scotland, which is examining how the Scottish Parliament should use existing and new tax powers to boost economic growth in Scotland. He lives in Falkirk with his wife Giuseppina and their dogs.
“When I retired from CBI Scotland in September, I was quite clear in my mind that I did not want to go into another full-time, senior executive position. At the same time, I did not want to sit there and do nothing. What I really wanted to do was a range of different things and that is exactly what I have done.
“I am quite busy, but it is still not the same as having a full-time position. The level of responsibility I had during my time at the CBI was quite high, especially in the run up to the referendum and now that has been lessened - at least to an extent. We have a house on the Isle of Arran and we pop over there whenever we can and go for long walks with the dogs. We also have two grandchildren living just down the road, so it is lovely to be able to spend time with them.
“I don’t have any intention in my mind to bring out the pipe and slippers - I want to continue working for as long as I can. On the other hand, people should do what makes them happy. My brother retired in June and he wants to play golf three times a week, which is great. My advice to anyone reaching retirement age is to do what suits them.”