About Pendragon and what we do
About the people at Pendragon
About our electronic information service
Pensions Surveys
How to contact us
Pendragon home page

Your one point of access to surveys, research and reports for the Pensions Professional

Retirement brings "FOMO" concerns for workers over 50
Retirement brings "FOMO" concerns for workers over 50
5 Feb 2019 United Kingdom Longevity, Pensioners & Retirement
Key Details:
  • 3 million[1] workers over 50 say staying mentally active is the top reason they want to extend their working life and enter retirement gradually
  • 7 million[2] workers harbour concerns about giving up work completely
  • Research[3] into retirement preferences among over 50s in the UK reveals that working has positive effects on worker wellbeing, which many are reluctant to give up by retiring. Not benefitting from the non-monetary elements of work, such as mental stimulation and social engagement, influences the way people want to retire. The fear of missing out, ‘FOMO’, means half of workers over 50 favour a phased transition into retirement.
  • The alternative to a cliff edge end to working life, transitioning into retirement, gives workers the best of all worlds, by allowing them to balance their health and wealth. And maintaining mental sharpness was the top reason given for wanting to take this option, by three in five workers (59%). Sense of purpose (44%) and social engagement (39%) were other valued elements workers felt they’d get from continuing to work in some capacity.
  • It was not just the associated benefits of work that makes extended employment appealing. The need for additional money to supplement a pension was felt to be a major consideration for 42% of workers, with more women than men citing this as a reason for continuing to work beyond retirement, (nearly half (48%) of women versus 39% of men). 
  • Interestingly the thought of stopping work altogether and completely retiring was a concern for a quarter of workers (27%) over 50, with 1 in 10 of them (11%) saying they were anxious about the thought. A fifth (19%) were candid enough to admit that beyond the initial excitement, they thought the novelty of not working would be short lived.
  • Why do older workers want to work beyond traditional retirement age?
  • Improved life expectancy means there’s now an increased expectation that people will live into their 80s and beyond, making them more inclined to continue working in some capacity in their 60s and potentially 70s. This is especially true if they enjoy good health, which is increasingly the case. With many workers having less physically demanding jobs it’s also easier to continue working for longer.


[1] 3 million (Of the 10.3m workers over 50 in the UK, 49% want to transition – 5million) (59% (Q6) of those 5million want to carry on working to remain mentally agile.) 10.3m people over 50 in employment in the UK -https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/employmentunemploymentandeconomicinactivitybyagegroupnotseasonallyadjusteda05nsa

[2] (Q1) 16% mildly concerned, 11% anxious (27%) of 10.21 million workers

[3] Research conducted in conjunction with Opinium, based on responses from 1007 UK workers aged 50+ earning £20k+ between 30 November and 6 December 2018.

source: AEGON Press Release