Most retired people over 50 believe they stopped working too soon, according to the surprise results of a new survey.
Although millions of workers are angry and dismayed that the government is shifting the state retirement age farther away, 85% of those already retired rue the day they gave up work.
On average, says the research from financial company SunLife, most people believe they gave up work 2.5 years too early.
And the older the retiree, the more they regret stopping working too soon.
One in five still have a job
The over 70s consider they retired three years too early, just one in 10 believe they retired too late and only one in 20 feel they timed retirement right.
The firm’s Ian Atkinson said: “Our research shows that people aged 50 and over feel 10 years younger mentally and almost four years younger physically, so, far from being over the hill, people in their 50s, 60s and 70s feel fit, healthy and sharp, which could explain why so many feel they gave up work too early and why so many are starting new careers.”
One reason people believe they retired too soon is they lack the cash they thought they would have to fund a comfortable retirement.
More than a fifth of retirees still work, mainly part-time, to earn some money to supplement their pensions and savings.
Their money-making activities range from baking and selling cakes to renting out homes, private tuition and part-time jobs.
Many others miss colleagues or feel they still have something to offer the community.
“Many people in their 50s, 60s and 70s have made big changes in their work lives, by either dropping to part time, or giving up stressful careers to do something they are more passionate about. Far from being the end of working life, for many, turning 50 offers a new start,” said Atkinson.
He explained finding the right balance between having enough money and enjoying time off and keeping physically and mentally active could be a challenge for many retirees.
Researchers spoke to more than 50,000 over 50s to gather the survey data for SunLife.