The Future of Global Retirement

How savers think about retirement in the world’s most advanced DC pension markets – Research report 2021

We surveyed 6,772 adults* in the United Kingdom, United States and Australia on their views and attitudes to retirement, concerns, awareness of options, and preferences towards managing their finances in retirement.

In examining three of the world’s largest defined contribution retirement savings markets, this research uncovers a series of trends indicative of the broader future of global retirement. This report highlights issues facing today’s savers, along with many areas of opportunity, including the following three key opportunities to improve the future for retirement savers.

1. Bridge the advice gap, before it’s too late

There is a huge ‘advice gap’ that the retirement industry needs to address quickly. 50% of those nearest to retirement (age 55+) have never received financial advice about retirement. Professional advice is an option, but is costly. Technology can unlock the ability to provide this at scale, without either prohibitive costs or the inefficiency of blanket education programmes.

50% of those age 55+ have never received retirement advice – Future of Global Retirement Report 2021 – smart.co

2. Retirement is no longer a one-off event

Just 16% of savers still consider retirement as a single event – a startlingly low proportion. Retirement is seen by 45% of people as a process, while almost a third plan to continue working into ‘retirement’. Savers need a retirement solution that meets their needs ‘to and through’ retirement rather than just ‘at’ retirement.

Almost half of savers consider retirement as a process – Future of Global Retirement Report 2021 – smart.co

3. Control and flexibility are absolutely vital when it comes to retirement

Financial control and flexibility are constant themes for savers in all countries. 72% of people want at least some involvement in managing their finances for retirement.

For 49% of savers, being able to access their retirement account online is crucial when it comes to choosing a retirement plan provider. 40% value the flexibility of changing their income depending upon their circumstances, while the ability to withdraw money on demand is important to 32%.

Almost 3/4 of savers want at least some involvement in managing their retirement finances – Future of Global Retirement Report 2021 – smart.co

* Study methodology: All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 6,772 adults in the UK, US and Australia. Fieldwork was undertaken between 19–26 November 2020. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been given an even weighting for each country to produce an ‘average’ value.