The state of retirement in 2022

An annual survey from major investment manager abrdn has provided a snapshot of people who have or plan to retire in 2022. Wherever you are in your retirement planning, the research offers an interesting insight.


When do you plan to stop working? Whatever answer you give, the recent survey of 2,000 people who were either due to retire in the next 12 months or have retired in the past 12 months suggests the odds are that your plans may not reach fruition.

No fewer than 55% of respondents said they had or would be retiring earlier than planned, a jump from 37% in the previous survey. Another 20% said their retirement was deferred, with one in five retirees saying the reason being that they had not saved enough. That leaves only 25% who retired as planned, a reminder that building flexibility into your planning is not optional.


Only 25% of the retirees surveyed felt ‘very confident’ that they had enough funds to finance their retirement, down from 30% in 2021. The fall is related to the rising cost of living, which was flagged as a concern by many. It may also explain why two-thirds of the retirees said they would carry on with some form of work, including starting their own business.


Continuation of work may be an optimistic assumption: the latest data from the Office of National Statistics shows that only 10.6% of those aged 65 and over are in employment. Of the 2021 retirees who were still doing some work, a third said they have or will take ad-hoc jobs in the gig economy. Surprisingly, less than one in seven of the 2021 retirees had mapped out how much they could afford to spend each year, so the number looking for gig employment may well be going up.


A little over half of the 2022 retirees hoped to pass on wealth to their children or grandchildren, but fewer than one in four felt very confident about how to do so. The 2021 retirees could give them a clue. Of the 40% of 2021 retirees who said they were spending more than anticipated, the most common reason was supporting family members in financial difficulty – it seems the Bank of Mum and Dad never retires…

If any of the survey’s results sound uncomfortably familiar to you, take the time to do what only 18% of the 2022 retirees did and seek professional advice about your retirement plans.


The value of your investment and any income from it can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested.


Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.