Many Brits know the rules of football better than the rules of retirement

Colleagues playing table football in the office
  • Almost three in five (59%) can explain football’s ‘off-side rule’ and half know what VAR stands for.
  • However, only two in five (40%) know that 66 is the age you can access the state pension, 38% thought it was much earlier.
  • Just under one in four (23%) accurately identified the value of the full state pension. Some thought it was £60 more a week than it is.

Most Brits understand and can explain key football rules better than they can the rules around retirement, according to new research by Aviva.

Almost three in five people (59%) can confidently describe football’s offside rule; and more than half (53%) know what VAR (Virtual assistant Referee) stands for; the same percentage (53%) know that 30 minutes of extra time could be played if the final result of a match is still a draw after the usual 90 minutes.

Unfortunately, the same could not be said for our retirement plans: Less than half (46%) of UK adults are confident that their retirement plans are on track and this confidence appears to decrease with age – only one in five (18%) 25–34-year-olds say they are ‘very confident’ their retirement plans are on track – this drops dramatically to just 7% of those aged 45-54 years old.

Only two in five (40%) correctly recognised 66 as the age that UK residents are currently eligible to claim the state pension.

Only two in five (40%) correctly recognised 66 as the age that UK residents are currently eligible to claim the state pension, almost two in five (38%) thought they could access the money between 60 – 65 years old.

Just under one in four (23%) can correctly identify the value of the full state pension (£221.20 per week) – one in five (19%) predicted that they would be between £20 - £60 better off each week (citing £241.20 - £281.20 as the payment).

A further 18% thought the earliest age they can access their private pension was between 40 and 54 years old – not 55, which is the correct age1.

Today there are a record number of people saving for their retirement – more than 22 million across the UK2. That’s enough people to fill Wembley Stadium nearly 250 times over.

Millions will watch the start of the UEFA Euros 2024 championship3 this weekend; but millions of the same people may be flying blind towards their retirement.

By taking some simple steps today, it can help us take control of our retirement plans and allow us to keep cheering our teams with confidence, for years to come.

Commenting, Alistair McQueen, head of savings & retirement at Aviva said: “Football is our national game. Millions love it. And even those who don’t, seem to have a pretty good understanding of its rules. Sadly, the same cannot be said about our retirement plans.

“Most of us are now actively saving for our retirement thanks to auto-enrolment.

“Many can hopefully look forward to a lot more cup finals in our retirement. By taking some simple steps today, it can help us take control of our retirement plans and allow us to keep cheering our teams with confidence, for years to come.”

Aviva’s three key retirement planning ‘rules of thumb’ are:

  1. Aim to begin saving for your retirement at least 40 years before your target retirement age.
  2. Aim to save at least 12% of your earnings into your pension – and remember this 12% can often include contributions from your employer.
  3. Aim to have a pension fund worth at least ten times your salary by the time you reach your retirement.



1. Age at which Brits can typically access their private pension is 55, through ‘Pension Freedoms’ introduced in 2015.

2. Department for Work and Pensions

3. UEFA Euros 2024 official site

Methodology: The research was conducted by Censuswide between 13th – 15th May 2024 of 2000 general consumers, aged 16+, national representative sample representative of age, gender and region across the 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.


Fiona Whytock

Retirement, Savings and Investments

Shelley Kernaghan

Retirement and Annuities

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