• 39% of 18-24 year olds (Adult Gen Z) believe adult children should provide financial support to parents 
  • A quarter (25%) of today’s Adult Gen Z expect to be paying for long-term care for a loved one in retirement
  • Three in ten (29%) Gen Zers say they’ve done a great deal of planning or thinking about retirement finances -  a similar proportion to baby boomers who are near retirement or already retired
  • All generations can learn lessons from those who have already retired – 26% wish they’d saved more, but 20% realised they didn’t need as much money as anticipated
  • Standard Life publishes new report, revealing different attitudes and behaviours towards savings and retirement across five generations

Almost two-thirds (62%) of adult Generation Zers (those aged between 18 and 24) say they are happy to spend less on themselves so they can help loved ones and any children they have in future, according to new insights1 published today by Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, the largest long-term savings and retirement business in the UK.

Demonstrating a positive awareness of the demands their retirement finances might have to cover, a quarter (25%) of Generation Z expect to be paying for long-term care for a loved one in retirement, and 25% also expect to help their parents/in-laws financially.

The findings are contained in Standard Life’s study Bringing Retirement into focus: 2021 which looks to understand the attitudes, hopes and behaviours of people as they manage their finances to and through retirement, while considering the influence that age, affluence, education, and gender have on their financial engagement and wellbeing. The research was conducted among almost 5,000 consumers nation-wide across the UK.

The research reveals Gen Zers to be a highly caring generation with 39% believing it’s the responsibility of adult children to provide financial support to parents (compared to 29% of 45 to 54 year olds, and 21% of 55 to 64 year olds).

Gen Z are already planning ahead

Providing fresh insight into the financial behaviours and attitudes of various socio-groups, the report shows Gen Z adults are already thinking about their future finances, with three in ten (29%) saying they have done ‘a great deal of planning or thinking’ about how much money they will need to live on in retirement. They appear to have done more planning than their elders, as only a fifth (21%) of Generation X say they’ve done a great deal of planning or thinking about retirement. Gen Z are thinking about future finances almost as much as the Baby Boomers – the generation closest to or currently in the early stages of retirement – where 31% say they have done a substantial amount of planning.

Furthermore, 62% of Gen Z adults state they are even worried they’re spending too much money now in case they run out later in life.

However, while Gen Z show a high level of consideration for how much they may need in retirement, and what they may spend their money on, there are still some elements they are unsure about, with a fifth (20%) not having given any thought to their potential funding sources for retirement – the highest of any age group.

Sangita Chawla, Chief Marketing Officer at Standard Life, comments: “Younger generations deserve much credit for planning ahead and beginning to think about retirement when it will still feel so far away for them. The pandemic will likely have impacted their mindset, with issues such as longevity and later life care now at the forefront, and providing a stark reminder of the need to have provisions in place for the future – to support both themselves and loved ones.

“Generation Z appear to be rising to the challenges they face so far and planning for the road ahead and the additional strains their finances will likely need to cover. Generation Z is also the first to have been auto enrolled into a workplace pensions scheme from the start of their working lives, and will have an entirely different saving experience to that of their parents and grandparents. It’s important we make efforts to understand all the differences that set them apart from other generations, so that we can better support them and their aspirations for saving and pensions, and help them adequately plan for their future.”

Learning from your elders

As Generation Z begin their savings journey, they may look to benefit from the wisdom of those currently in retirement. Standard Life’s research shows that, with hindsight, a quarter (26%) of retired people wish they had saved more, while 25% felt they underestimated the potential length of their retirement and wish they had known this before they stopped working.

On the other hand, 20% of retirees realised they didn’t need as much money to fund their retirement as they originally thought, and 7% actually curbed their spending too much during their early retirement, when they were still fit and active, for fear of running out of income as they aged.

Sangita Chawla, continues: “Recognising that we all have different experiences and attitudes towards savings and retirement is really important if we want more people to engage with their finances and plan for the future. With Gen Z already thinking about their commitments in later life and their financial futures it’s important that we begin to look at the specific support this generation will need to bring their retirement into focus.  What’s abundantly clear is that a one size fits all approach won’t work.  With our research insights we want to do more to ensure that we create the best outcomes for all five generations.”



Sarah Muir
07870 537937
Darragh Leeson
Phoenix Group
07707 270001


Notes to editors

1 - Boxclever conducted research among 4,896 UK adults. The research is nationally representative of UK adult population in terms of age, gender, region, with 578 people falling into Generation Z.

Quantitative fieldwork was conducted between 16th and 23rd July 2021.

Qualitative fieldwork was conducted between 3rd and 11th August 2021.

Further data available on request.
About Standard Life 

  • 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 the 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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