UK pensions: As state pension age is reviewed, with experts warning that people may have to work until their 70s, study reveals that 61 per cent of over-45s already envy older generations

Hayley Kirton
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No carefree strolls for you (Source: Getty)

Everyone is jealous of retirees right now - even those who are relatively close to becoming one themselves.

Nearly two-thirds (61 per cent) of over-45s currently saving into a pension pot envy the financial security and lifestyle the generations above them seem to have, acutely aware that they'll probably never have it so good, research released today by MetLife has discovered.

Over a quarter (29 per cent) believe that when they finally hang up their coat at the day job, they're going to have a significantly lower standard of living than today's pensioners, and another 29 per cent also think they'll be slightly worse off.

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"Retirement envy is a real concern if savers simply switch off from pension saving and believe they will never achieve what older generations have," said Dominic Grinstead, managing director of MetLife UK.

Having begrudgingly accepted that the retirement age had to rise - it currently stands at 65 for men and 60 for women, and is due to raise to 66 for both by 2020, then again to 67 between 2026 and 2028 - it now seems likely that millions of people currently saving for their retirement could work well into their mid-70s.

Just yesterday, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that it had appointed former CBI director general John Cridland to lead the UK's first review of state pension age, and experts have warned that this may see people working well into their golden years.

Those under the age of about 55 could be affected by the shake-up, which will consider what the state retirement age should be from April 2028. The results will be published next May.

Read more: Why the government is raising women's state pension age

"We fully expect state pension ages to go up faster than currently planned, and those joining the workforce today are likely to find themselves waiting till their mid-70s to get a pay out from the state system," warned Tom McPhail, head of retirement policy at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"This is simply a function of the big jumps we continue to see in life expectancy, which the state pension can’t hope to support without costs spiralling out of control."

This morning, the Work and Pensions Committee is taking evidence from former minister of state for universities and science Lord Willetts and former pensions minister Steve Webb as part of an ongoing inquiry into intergenerational fairness in the pensions system, with whether inequality between generations is a more urgent issue than inequality within generations being one of the topics of discussion on the table.

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