Are Brits delaying retirement due to debt?

Posted by: Lowell|April 20 2022


Retirement Debt

The decision to stop working can be daunting for many Brits. Understanding retirement can sometimes be the difference between having a secure financial future or taking a risk which can lead to financial repercussions. But how many Brits are delaying retirement because of debt, and what retirement myths are misleading Brits the most?

We’ve conducted research to uncover whether Brits are delaying retirement because of debt. The findings also show the publics misunderstandings when it comes to retirement.

Brits delaying retirement due to debt

Our research revealed that 17% of Brits who are delaying retirement due to debt are doing so for at least 5 years, and one in eight (12%) are delaying it for at least 10 years.

Specific research into our Customer Panel [2] revealed that almost a third of Lowell customers (31%) aged over 45 said they have considered or are actively delaying their retirement due to worries about debt. Worryingly, one in 10 (10%) Lowell customers aged 45+ said that they will never be able to retire.

The research also highlights that over one in five (21%) Brits are worried that their pension isn’t enough to live on. The table below reveals the true impact debt can have on retirement, with many Brits believing retirement will be delayed for 2 or more years.

Time of retirement delay %
1-2 years 9%
3 years 13%
4 years 12%
5 years 17%
6 years 6%
7 years 7%
8 years 2%
9 years 1%
10 years 12%


Brits biggest worries when it comes to retirement

The data highlights that Brits’ biggest retirement worries come from a lack of funds, and not knowing how much pension they will receive. The statistics also reveal that 8% worry they will accumulate debt due to their state/workplace pension not being enough to live on after retirement.

Retirement worries %
That a pension isn't enough to live on 21%
Getting into debt after retirement due to your pension not being enough to live on 8%
Not being able to support your family on your pension alone 6%
Not knowing how much of your pension will be paid 6%


The misconceptions Brits believe about retirement

One misconception amongst Brits (18%) is that your state and workplace pension disappear when you die. Following a death, a sum worth up to 2-4 times your salary will be paid tax-free to your beneficiaries. If a Brit has already hit the retirement age before they have died, a percentage of their pension will continue to be paid at a reduced amount to their next of kin [4].

Another misconception around pensions are that 13% of Brits believe you must apply for a workplace pension. Brits are automatically enrolled into a workplace pension at the age of 22.

Other misconceptions highlighted include 12% of Brits believe you can access your state pension early, 11% think that you can only retire once you hit 65, and 9% believe that when your company goes into administration, you will lose all your already equivalated pension funds.

Retirement myths that people believe to be true %
Your pension disappears when you die 19%
You must apply for a workplace pension 13%
You can get access to your state pension early 12%
You can only retire once you hit 65 11%
If your company goes into administration, you lose all your workplace pensions 9%
There is no way to check your pension amount 5%



[1] Survey conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Lowell, 25.02.2022 – 28.02.2022. 1,000 general respondents in the UK

[2] Survey conducted by Lowell to their Customer Panel, 04.03.2022-08.03.2022, 209 respondents in the UK.