During October & November 2021 we published an online survey & invited responses from those who were either recently retired or close to retiring. We received a total of 432 completed responses.
Our survey contained questions addressing:
- Proximity to retirement
- Whether they had accessed any, non-financial, retirement help
- Whether they were planning a “transition” to retirement or a “switch”
- Whether they already had a passion or project that would likely fill much of their retirement
- Overall how well prepared they felt for the non-financial aspects of their retirement
Details of the questions and responses are at the foot of this page.
Lack of preparedness
Our survey suggested that even those on the cusp of retiring were under-prepared for the non-financial aspects of retirement. The interest in trying to prepare increased as the point of retirement approached, but was largely confined to independent research & Googling. Very little specialist help was available. Interestingly, for those who reported that they were already retired, or semi-retired, their interest in unearthing, non-financial, help increased compared to those approaching retirement. This strongly suggests that the realities of retirement are a catalyst for recognising that it is important to seek help in addressing the non-financial aspects of it.
More than half of our sample reported that they had experienced, or were expecting, a “transition” from work to retirement, rather than a “hard switch” (fully working on Friday, fully retired on Monday). This is potentially encouraging although our survey didn’t seek to unearth the reasons behind this. It is quite possible that reduced working deriving from the Covid-19 pandemic has led to an enforced reduction in hours & therefore this “transition” to retirement could be outside the control of many respondents.
Only about a quarter of our respondents noted that they already had a passion or project that was likely to fill much of their retirement. An all-consuming passion can be particularly helpful to give a retired person new purpose and to achieve “flow”, a state where you tend to lose track of time & therefore time doesn’t “drag”.
Overall it was interesting to see that less than half of our respondents felt that they were well prepared for the non-financial aspects of retirement. But the real insight came from cross-correlating the response concerning overall preparedness with the respondent’s stage pre or post-retirement. Those with longer to go before retirement generally reported feeling rather better prepared than those closer to retirement. There was a fairly marked drop in the “overall preparedness” score amongst those who had already retired. This suggests to us that when the reality of retirement hits, unfortunately, many people realise that they just weren’t prepared.
Survey questions & basic information on responses (rounded to nearest whole no)
Prefer not to say 1%
Proximity to retirement
>2 years to retirement 9%
<2 years to retirement 21%
<1 year to retirement: 26%
Already fully retired 18%
Already semi-retired 26%
Accessed any, non-financial, retirement help
Some independent research & Googling 34%
Independently accessed specialist advice 3%
Employer has helped with access to specialist advice 5%
“Switch” or “transition” to retirement
Swiftly from full-time work to full retirement (ie a “switch”) 36%
A more “tapered” transition involving a mix of work & retirement (ie a “transition”) 62%
Something else 2%
Do you have a passion or project that would likely fill much of your retirement?
Overall do you feel well prepared for the non-financial aspects of retirement?