The over 50s would prefer to glide into retirement over three years rather than hit a wall and stop working when they hit state retirement age.
Most believe their retirement decisions are more likely to be determined by their health or call for them to act as carers rather than choice or any other factor.
That’s the result of a survey of more than 1,000 workers carried out for financial firm Aegon.
Half said given the chance that they would prefer to phase in retirement, as giving up work was no longer a milestone event but more of a winding down.
For most, hitting the age of 63 years old triggers then a gradual slide into retirement by working less hours before fully retiring at 66 years and six months old.
Plans upset for half of workers
The path is fluid as most over 50s accept their health, the health of loved ones and sometimes ageism at work will influence their decisions.
Surprisingly, a third believe ageism will factor in the decision-making.
Half of over 50s said they retired earlier than they planned, which many feel impacted their retirement finances.
Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said: “We have a record number of over 50s in the workforce, with this age group making up almost a third of all workers. Older workers make an extremely valuable contribution to the economy and the trend to working later in life should be encouraged given how life expectancies have risen in recent decades.
“However, we should remember that the path to retirement isn’t always a smooth one and while people may want to work for longer and spend three years phasing into retirement, unexpected factors can come into play, and ultimately take the choice out of their hands.
“People are worried that ill health, caring responsibilities or ageism may mean they have to give up work sooner than they’d like or had planned to do and that can have a significant impact on their finances. To cope with unexpected events it’s important to ensure you prepare well in advance for the retirement you want and seek financial advice to give yourself as much flexibility as possible.”