The future of global retirement

We launched Smart Retire to revolutionise the future of retirement and to help people retire their way. To accomplish this, we wanted to find out what people think about retirement. So, in partnership with YouGov, we surveyed more than 6,000 people across the UK, Australia and the USA in November 2020*.

Our research found that ‘control’ and ‘flexibility’ are two driving factors when it comes to decision-making about retirement savings:

  • 47% of UK adults aged 55+ would prefer to manage all of their retirement finances themselves.
  • However, a further 37% want some support: 7% want someone else to manage their retirement finances entirely, while 30% want some assistance but to remain involved.
  • When asked what’s important when choosing a pension provider, 27% of all UK adults aged 55+ chose being able to change their income if their financial needs change, and 29% place importance on having the ability to withdraw lump sums whenever they may need to do so.

The impact of the pandemic on retirement timelines

2020 presented lots of challenges, and our research found that retirement plans were no different. One in every eight UK adults over the age of 55 plan to delay their retirement due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Our research found that 1 in 8 UK adults over the age of 55 who expect to retire in the future to delay retirement due to Covid pandemic.

While the headline impact of Covid is shocking news for a million people approaching retirement in the UK. This survey demonstrates that the nature of retirement is changing and fast. We know people want to be in control of their finances, but worryingly 47% of adults aged 55+ who expect to retire or are already retired, want to go it alone.

Clear communication

Those who are at retirement gave focus to the importance and impact of the way people access their pension savings.

  • 66% of Australians and over 47% of people in the US and the UK public think their pension provider should offer online tools to assist with retirement planning.
  • More than half of Australians, more than a third of Americans, and four in ten Brits expect to receive advice directly from their pension provider.
  • More than half of Australians, 42% of Americans, and 46% of British citizens rate clear and simple communications as the most important factor when choosing a provider in retirement.

You can read more about the simple psychology of giving confidence and control both to and through retirement in this blog post by Smart’s Director of Pension Propositions, Michael Watkins.

How does Smart Retire solve these issues?

Smart Retire fills the current gap between many of the above findings and the technology available in the marketplace. It guides members through the complexities of the run-up to retirement, filling the so-called ‘advice gap’ through guidance instead of often-expensive advice. If they like, members can also use this solution in conjunction with personalised advice from a professional.

Designed by Smart’s in-house research and UX Team, Smart Retire has been built to be as flexible as possible, allowing users to plan and change their pension strategy as required.

Built with a ‘four pots’ model based on user research, Smart Retire accommodates life’s unpredictability and ensures users avoid both under-spending and running out of money in their retirement.

Smart Retire will initially be available to members of the Smart Pension Master Trust. We are actively working with partners across the globe to bring this technology to those reaching retirement all over the world.

*All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 6,772 adults. UK (2,114 adults), US (2,654 adults) and Australia (2,004 adults). 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.