Poor health and redundancy were responsible for nearly half of retirees leaving work earlier than expected, new research from Just Group revealed.
Nearly half (47%) of 1,043 retired over-55s interviewed in April 2021 said they had stopped working earlier than they had expected compared to 43% who said they retired when they expected and 9% who retired later.
The findings showed that of that 47% of people who stopped working earlier than they had planned, with one third (33%) stopped work due to ill health, while 15% lost their job (see table below).
In comparison, one in four (25%) stopped working because they felt their pensions and savings were enough that they could afford to retire.
A further 2% said they gave up work due to an inheritance and 2% stopped because they no longer needed the income as their partner was still working. Just under one in ten (8%) finished work to provide care for a family member.
Stephen Lowe, group communications director, Just Group, said: “Going forward it will be interesting to track whether Covid-19 has forced more people out of the workforce prematurely or whether the economic insecurity has led to people putting off their retirements for longer.”
Lowe said the research has important implications for later life planning and for policymakers considering future rises in the state pension age.
He added: “People don’t necessarily have the luxury of choosing the point they exit the labour market and many do so knowing their pensions and savings will not be sufficient. This reinforces the importance of using Pension Wise guidance to ensure people understand their pension options but are also aware of state benefits which may help them plug a financial gap if they have to leave work earlier than expected.”