Retirees around the Globe Redefine the 'Golden Years'

May 10, 2005 ( - Traditional retirement views - particularly those in which retirees don't work at all - appear to have gone by the wayside among people in countries around the world, according to a new survey.

A news release said HSBC’s study, The Future of Retirement, found that the majority in six of the 10 nations surveyed saw alternating work and leisure time as the ideal for retirement – a major shift away from the notion that one’s later years involved only leisure time. Some 80% of respondents said they want to throw out the concept of mandatory retirement and a scant 14% equate tie financial independence with old age.

Even in India and the UK, the most skeptical about flexible work arrangements, more than 25% want to keep working in their later years, the announcement said.

“The aging of the ‘baby boomer’ generation, declining fertility rates and increasing lifespans are combining to create new and complex demographic pressures across the globe,” said Sir John Bond, Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings plc, in the news release. “The resulting changes will in many cases be very positive but they also create real challenges, not least with regard to the funding of retirement. Even in Canada, the nation our research found to be the best prepared for retirement, just 24% now equate later life with financial independence.”

It is apparent that what people want is greater choice in when and how they retire, according to the HSBC announcement. Just 17% felt employers should have a mandatory retirement age, while 80% felt that people should go on working as long as they are able. Only 29% thought avoiding stress was important to a happy later life. Less than a quarter (21%) said that never working for pay again would form part of their ideal retirement.

The survey found that people in many countries are unsure of where to go to find appropriate advice. Almost two-thirds (63%) of those surveyed said they had begun to prepare for retirement but most of this was restricted to reading up on the subject and discussion with family and friends.

The study examines attitudes in Brazil, Canada, mainland China and Hong Kong, France, India, Japan, Mexico, the UK and the USA – countries and territories which contain over half of the world’s people and, according to HSBC, combine to give a representative sample of the global population.

More information about the survey is here .