Global Outlook for Future Retirement Bleak

Current workers expect to be worse off in retirement than current retirees.

AEGON’s Retirement Readiness Survey indicated there is widespread pessimism about the future state of retirement, finding that 71% of respondents still working believe that future generations will be worse off in retirement than current retirees.  

More than two-thirds of the 9,000 people surveyed in eight European countries and the United States said they bear principal responsibility for their retirement security, but only 15% are confident that they are on course to achieve the retirement income they need. This is also reflected in the AEGON Retirement Readiness Index, which measures how prepared people feel about their own retirement in the various countries represented in the report.

Most respondents support increased taxes, reduced benefits—or both—to ensure the viability of government-sponsored pension systems. At the same time, nearly half of the respondents do not support raising the age of retirement, even as people are living longer. A majority of respondents, however, expect to continue working in some form past traditional retirement age.

“People in general are enjoying longer, healthier lives, and yet their readiness for a longer retirement is considerably less than that of previous generations of retirees,” said Alex Wynaendts, AEGON CEO. “A concerted effort is needed to reconsider traditional retirement models and provide greater flexibility for phased retirement.”

The AEGON survey also showed that the traditional "retirement cliff"—which refers to people going straight from working life into full retirement—is disappearing, and phased retirement is set to become the norm as more people expect to continue some kind of work activity past traditional retirement age. Fifty-four percent of the current generation of retirees transitioned directly from work into full retirement, but only 30% of the current working generation expects a similar path.

The findings further indicate that "silver entrepreneurs" could become more common, as many in this current generation plan to combine activities such as starting their own businesses with leisure pursuits in their advanced years.

The AEGON survey was developed in collaboration with the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies and Cicero Consulting.

For information related to the AEGON Retirement Readiness Survey, visit