Retirement aspirations rely on twin pillars of health and wealth

  • Workers in excellent health are more aware of the need to plan financially for retirement
  • Only 35% of people in the UK take their health seriously by establishing good habits
  • Only 40% consider their long-term health when making lifestyle choices

 A global study looking at people’s outlook for retirement revealed that a successful and enjoyable retirement requires a focus on both good financial habits and a healthy lifestyle. The research carried out in countries spanning Europe, the Americas, Asia and Australia, highlights that achieving retirement aspirations requires more than saving, investing and planning, it also depends on staying in good health. Workers around the world share aspirations for an active retirement but relatively few are taking steps to safeguard their health or prepare financially. One of the key findings globally is that there is an alarming disconnect between people’s good intentions and their actions, according to recent research from Aegon.

Many people believe that they are in excellent or good health today, but are they taking sufficient action to help ensure they can stay healthy as they age? When it comes to older age, 82% of people in the UK say they have some concerns about their future health, but there’s a real gulf between their concerns and current behaviours, with surprisingly few taking adequate steps to safeguard their health:

  • Only 35% of people currently take their health seriously by carrying out regular self-checks or having routine medical check-ups
  • Only two fifths (40%) consider their long-term health when making lifestyle choices, for example, trying to avoid stress
  • Alarmingly 46% don’t exercise regularly and 44% expose themselves to harmful behaviours like drinking too much or smoking

Retirement has become an active stage of life, which people associate with staying socially connected, participating in their local community and for a growing number, keeping working. Maintaining good health is an essential pillar for each of these activities.

In the UK, the majority (75%) of people associate positive words with retirement. The most widely held retirement aspirations are, travelling (55%), followed closely by spending time with friends and family (52%) and pursuing new hobbies (41%). A noteworthy 28% of people in the UK mention a desire to work in some capacity in retirement.

The survey also reveals that workers who are in excellent or good health have a more positive financial outlook about their future retirement compared with those in fair or poor health. Those in excellent health (46%) are over three times more likely to be confident of achieving a financially comfortable retirement than those in fair health (13%).

Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said:

“Finding ways to develop good savings habits and to maintain a healthy lifestyle from an early age are key factors for a successful retirement. Those who adopt multiple healthy activities are also more likely to be financially prepared for retirement than those who don’t.

“Retirement planning has traditionally focused very heavily on finances, without sufficient consideration of health. A successful retirement requires maintaining good health and being financially secure. However, many people are failing to prepare in ways that can increase their likelihood of success.

“Health has the potential to have major impacts on people’s retirement plans. For example when taking the decision about when to stop working and enter retirement the timing is often dictated by health factors. And while we all aspire to a long and healthy retirement, this may involve saving more to make the most of these years.”

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