Gen X mid-lifers most likely to think they will never completely retire

Senior woman working at home
  • Gen X (aged 45 to 54) are less likely to think they will completely retire than other age groups, with almost one in three (31%) thinking it unlikely
  • More than a quarter (28%) of those aged 25 to 54 do not think they will ever completely retire, according to new research by Aviva
  • More than a quarter (27%) of millennials (25-44) think it is unlikely they will completely retire 
  • Only a third of women (33%) think they are likely to completely retire, compared to almost half (47%) of men
  • Among the reasons why people think they will never retire, almost a fifth (16%) say they like working and aim to continue beyond retirement age

New research from Aviva shows that more than a quarter (28%) of those aged 25 to 54 do not think it likely they will ever completely retire, suggesting the concept of the ‘hard stop’ retirement is becoming less prevalent among those deemed in the prime of their working lives.

Among Gen X, or those aged between 45 and 54, one in three (31%) think it is unlikely they will ever completely retire. This finding highlights the pressures faced by the ‘sandwich generation’ in their 40s and 50s, who may care for both their elderly parents and their own children, as well as needing to cover their own outgoings. The group also falls between those who benefitted from final salary pensions and younger generations benefitting from auto-enrolment.

Similarly, more than a quarter (27%) of millennials do not think they will ever completely retire (28% of 25 to 34-year-olds and 26% of 35 to 44-year-olds, respectively). Older millennials are likely to face similar pressures to those encountered by Gen X, with auto-enrolment having been introduced while they were already in their 20s.

The idea that retirement is a fixed event on a fixed date is increasingly a thing of the past. 

A gender disparity also emerges among the survey respondents. Just one in three women (33%) believe they are likely to completely retire, compared to almost half (47%) of men.

A quarter (25%) of Brits also say they do not envisage retiring before the age of 70 and almost a third (30%) want to continue earning to maintain their existing lifestyle.

Over a fifth of total survey respondents, including 13% of those aged 55 or above, do not think they will ever completely retire.

However, not all respondents cite constraints on their ability to retire as reasons they expect to stay in the workforce. One in six (16%) of those who do not think they will ever completely retire say they like working and aim to continue beyond retirement age. This suggests a changing attitude among those in employment towards the notion of reaching an end point to their working lives.

Additionally, almost 10% of those surveyed say they would like to set aside some of their pension pot for their next of kin or relatives as a reason to stay in the workforce and further build up their savings.

Alistair McQueen, Head of Savings and Retirement at Aviva, says:

"Attitudes towards retirement are changing. The idea that retirement is a fixed event on a fixed date is increasingly a thing of the past. Significant numbers are even questioning whether they will ever fully retire.

"Uncertainty appears to be greatest among the mid-life Gen X cohort. For this group, retirement is close enough to be a consideration but too far away to be a certainty.

"The good news is that retirement savers have more control over their futures than ever before. They can choose when to use their retirement savings and technology also allows savers to manage their money along the way, where and when they want.

“Record numbers of people are also now saving for their retirement. By taking control of our saving, we will be in a better place to take control of our retirement and create a more secure financial future."


Media enquiries:

Fiona Whytock
+44 (0)7800 692299

Shelley Kernaghan
+44 (0)7800 692266

Daisy Hayward
+44 (0) 7392 131571


The research was conducted by Censuswide between 25th – 27th March 2024 of 2000 general consumers, aged 16+, national representative sample. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles and are members of the British Polling Council.   

Notes to editors:

  • We are the UK's leading diversified insurer and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India and China.
  • We help our 19.2 million (as at 31 December 2023) customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for more than 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2023, we paid £25.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
  • In 2021, we announced our ambition to become Net Zero by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. We are aiming to have Net Zero carbon emissions from Aviva’s operations and supply chain by 2030. While we are working towards our sustainability ambitions, we recognise that while we have control over Aviva’s operations and influence on our supply chain, when it comes to decarbonising the economy in which we operate and invest, Aviva is one part of a far larger global ecosystem. There are also limits to our ability to influence other organisations and governments. Nevertheless, we remain focused on the task and are committed to playing our part in the collective effort to enable the global transition. Find out more about our climate goals at and our sustainability ambition and action at
  • Aviva is a Living Wage, Living Pension and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at
  • As at 31 December 2023, total Group assets under management at Aviva Group were £376 billion and our estimated Solvency II shareholder capital surplus as at 31 March 2024 was £8.5 billion. Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
  • For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit
  • The Aviva newsroom at includes links to our spokespeople images, podcasts, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
  • You can follow us on:
  • For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel:

      More from our Newsroom