04 February 2009
Retirement is dead: long live retirement

Standard Life and Reform reveal seismic shift in attitudes to retirement amongst baby boomer generation

This morning at a Reform debate on 'The Death of Retirement', Standard Life published research demonstrating a transformation in attitudes to retirement amongst the baby boomer generation.

Discussed by a panel including Shadow Pensions Minster Nigel Waterson MP, John Lawson, Head of Pensions Policy at Standard Life, and Andrew Haldenby, Director, REFORM, the findings show that over 46 year olds are more ambitious for their work life, leisure time and personal relationships at retirement than any generation before. It proves that attitudes to retirement have transformed as the structure of the UK population has changed and people look positively to a future when they will be healthier, wealthier and live for longer.

Commenting on the findings, John Lawson, Head of Pensions Policy at Standard Life said: "Our research proves that baby boomers' attitudes to retirement have fundamentally changed and they are now more ambitious for this 'third stage' of their life than any generation before them.

"Currently, the way we discuss retirement inhibits these people making the connection between their ambitions and pension saving. Harnessing this excitement could present an answer for government and the financial services industry to the challenge of retirement planning rather than reinventing pension structures."

Andrew Haldenby, Director, REFORM commented: "This debate shows there is clear support for the idea of an active retirement and the fact that people need to take more control. Government needs to do more to encourage that."

Nigel Waterson MP, Shadow Pensions Minister said: "Retirement should be less of an event and more of a process. We need to move away from the notion of pensions towards long term savings. It's all about flexible retirement. The US is ahead of the UK. With a 401k you can draw down more and in more ways. As a result, people save more, but they don't always draw down. The Standard Life research found that older people in retirement want to start new businesses. This is great and the kind of activity that should be encouraged."

The research findings include:

As well as having greater ambition for their future, research also shows that this generation expect to have more dependents than their parents. Two fifths (43%) of the 46-65 year olds in groups G and H expect to have one or more financial dependants when they retire, compared to just 26% of their parents' generation at retirement.

The findings are based on research commissioned by Standard Life and conducted by Lightspeed Research amongst a sample of UK representative sample of 1,500 respondents aged 18-65 and repeated amongst a group of 1,000 adults aged between 46-65 year olds from Financial Strategy Segments G and H*. The latter group represent the wealthiest section of society and account for 6% of total UK population (2.8 million people in the UK).

The death of retirementpdf icon(3.49Mb)

For more information, images from the debate or interviews with spokespeople please contact:

Natalie Orringe
Teamspirit Public Relations
Direct: 020 7360 7815
Mobile: 07816 588 750
Email: norringe@teamspiritpr.com

James Terry
Teamspirit Public Relations
Direct: 020 7360 7878
Mobile: 07941 829 582
Email: jterry@teamspiritpr.com

Notes to Editors


  1. Standard Life Assurance Limited is recognised for the high quality of its customer service, in particular for providing a service that is consistent, reliable and responsive. Standard Life received recognition for this in 2008 when the company were voted a 5 star provider at the Financial Adviser Service Awards for the 13th year running.

  2. Standard Life has approximately 7 million customers worldwide and provides an extensive range of products and services, aimed at meeting the financial requirements of customers throughout their lives.

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