Future of Work

Over half of the working population are worried about their retirement

What can we learn about global attitudes towards retirement?

What can we learn about global attitudes towards retirement? Image: REUTERS/Mike Blake

Katie Jones
Writer, Visual Capitalist
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Future of Work

These are the global attitudes to retirement.
These are the global attitudes to retirement. Image: Raconteur

There’s a reason retirement is often referred to as the golden years.

Many view retirement as a welcome reward following a successful career. The transition, however, is not always easy. An enjoyable retirement is often dictated by the amount of money people have set aside.

Today’s infographic from Raconteur visualizes attitudes towards retirement around the world, comparing expectations and actualities for retirement income.

Does reality meet their expectations?

Income expectations vary by country

A global survey by asset manager Schroders—looking at 22,000 investors from 30 countries—highlights that retirement income often falls short of expectations.

Here’s what non-retirees (55+ in age) expect to make in retirement as a percentage of their salary, compared to the actual incomes generated by retirees:

What non-retirees (55+ in age) expect to make in retirement as a percentage of their salary.
What non-retirees (55+ in age) expect to make in retirement as a percentage of their salary.

Not having enough money at retirement is a nearly universal issue, and 51% of employees with a workplace pension are worried that they won’t make enough to live their ideal retirement life.

Of course, there are always notable exceptions to every rule.

In India, for example, the reality of retirement is often better than anticipated. Non-retirees expect that 71% of their annual salary will provide what is needed to live comfortably in retirement, but in practice they get 96% of their salary in retirement—far higher than they thought.

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Most important retirement aspirations

The world is divided when it comes to working into retirement. The majority of people want to spend their retirement doing non-work related activities:

Traveling: 60%

Spending more time with friends and family: 57%

Pursuing new hobbies: 49%

Volunteer work: 27%

That said, 59% of employees in Italy, the U.S., and Australia expect to continue working while retired, while only 32% in the Netherlands have the same expectation. This may be partially due to the strength of the Dutch pension system, which is rated as one of the best in the world.

A changing retirement landscape

The reality of retirement continues to evolve by country and by generation.

Today, only 15% of the population in developed countries is above 65 years of age—but by 2050, the proportion will more than double. People between the ages of 40 and 50 are known as the “Sandwich Generation” because they are simultaneously supporting their retired parents and their own children.

While increasing life expectancy affords people the luxury of spending more time with loved ones, will we be able to afford to live longer?

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The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
Future of WorkAgeing and LongevityEconomic ProgressEducation
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