• Men more likely to have unretired or considering doing so than women (21% vs. 16%)
  • A third (32%) of over 55s have gone back to work due to increased living costs, while a quarter (24%) found their pension was not sufficient to live off as the cost of a ‘moderate’ standard of living in retirement increases by 34% according to the PLSA
  • More than one in ten (12%) over 55s planning to delay retirement due to financial pressures
  • Standard Life urges consumers to start building pension savings as early as possible to ensure retirement plans are kept on track

14% of retirees aged over 55 have gone back into work, according to new research1 from Standard Life’s Retirement Voice report, as their living costs have increased and their pension is not sufficient to fund retirement. A further 4% are also considering returning to work.

Men are more likely to have unretired, with 16% saying they have done this while 5% are also considering it, compared to 12% of women who have gone back to work again and 4% for whom this is a consideration.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of over 55s who have unretired say that income issues have been the driving force behind this. A third (32%) have found their living costs have increased more than they’d expected, meaning they’ve needed to return to work, and 24% have realised their pension is not providing enough income to live on. Meanwhile, three in ten (31%) want to earn more money so they can treat themselves more in retirement.

This analysis comes as the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) increase the amount the income they expect to provide a single person with a ‘moderate’ standard of living in retirement by 34%, from £23,300 in 2022/23 to 31,300 this year. The uplift reflects higher food, energy and motoring costs as well as an extra £1,000 a year added to help family members who are struggling with their own bills.

Other retirees have returned to work or are considering doing so due to feeling bored (39%), lonely (19%) or unhappy (15%).

Increased living costs resulting in retirement plan re-think

Standard Life’s research also highlights that many over 55s are currently re-thinking their retirement and financial plans due to ongoing cost of living pressures. More than one in ten (12%) are now delaying their plans to retire, while 3% are taking on an additional job to boost their income.

Dean Butler, Managing Director for Retail Direct at Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group commented: “The economic landscape of the last few years has put sustained pressure on people’s finances, with all ages and stages of life impacted. As a result, people are being forced to seek new ways of supplementing their income, be that taking on additional work, delaying retirement plans, and even returning to work having previously retired.

“Forecasts predict that inflation will continue to fall as we move through 2024, which should start to ease some of the financial strain. However, it won’t provide an overnight fix. And with the latest retirement living standards figures from the PLSA showing retirees will need more money than last year for a minimum, moderate and comfortable retirement, in particular highlighting the impact of retirees helping younger family members struggling due to the cost of living crisis, the scale of the challenge is greater for savers than ever before. It’s therefore essential that people engage with their pension and build their retirement funds from as early an age as possible. This means the impact of compound investment growth is much more significant over the long-term and can result in a much larger pension pot, and hopefully help to keep retirement plans on track.

“It can be tempting to put off thinking about your long-term financial future and focus purely on the short term but, if your finances permit and it’s appropriate for your circumstances, the sooner you engage with and begin to contribute to your pension, the better your ultimate retirement outcome will be.”

Standard Life offers tips to maximise pensions savings:

  • Make sure you’re taking advantage of all the benefits of your pension plan from your employer. If your employer offers a matching scheme, where if you pay additional contributions your employer will match them, consider paying in the maximum amount your employer will match to get the most out of it


  • Getting a bonus this year? Deciding to pay some or all of your bonus into your pension plan could save you paying some big tax and national insurance deductions. Meaning you could keep more of it in the long run, and it could be a great way to give your pension savings a boost
  • Even a small amount could make a big difference in the long term, especially if you’re starting young. If you’re able to, think about paying a little more into your pension when you get a pay rise, find yourself better-off for a different reason like a tax cut, or have a little extra in savings. If you choose to increase your contributions as soon as a pay rise or tax cut kicks in, you won’t notice a negative difference now – but could certainly notice a positive one in the future





James Merrick
Standard Life
07713 918949

Notes to editors:


1 - Boxclever conducted research among 6,350 UK adults. Fieldwork was conducted 26th July – 9th August 2023. Data was weighted post-fieldwork to ensure the data remained nationally representative on key demographics.


Standard Life is a brand that has been trusted to look after peoples’ life savings for nearly 200 years 

Today it proudly serves millions of customers who come to Standard Life directly, through advisers and through their employers’ pension scheme.

Standard Life is part of Phoenix Group, the largest long-term savings and retirement business in the UK. We’re proud to be building on nearly 200 years of Standard Life heritage together.

Our products include a variety of Pensions, Bonds and Retirement options to suit people’s needs, helping our customers to invest and save for their future. We’re proud to offer a leading range of sustainable and responsible investment options.

We support our customers on their journey to and through retirement with comprehensive, easy-to-understand guidance so they can invest in the right way for their needs and plan a future they feel confident about.

The value of investments can go down as well as up and may be worth less than originally invested.

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