Introduction

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The concept of a 'traditional' retirement is a relatively recent phenomenon. When retirement schemes were first introduced at the end of the 19th century, retirees were lucky to live just a few more years after stopping work. But increased life expectancy means that today's retirees are often enjoying 20 to 30 years of leisure at the end of their working lives.

Future attitudes to later life 7 of 8

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With life expectancy continuing to increase, retirement in its current form has become unsustainable, both for governments and many individuals. This means that the concept of a long, leisurely retirement is likely to change. For the majority of the working population, an expectation that we can stop work at 60 or 65 is therefore unrealistic.

For many, a conventional retirement may not be welcome. More than ever before, we are enjoying good health to an older age and many of us are not only capable of working well beyond retirement age, we also often have the desire to do so.

Today's older generation can often be found using their retirement years to start a new career, set up a business or to consult in their specialist field. As a result, the notion that an individual should cease working at a pre-defined age is more of an illusion than a reality.

The wealthy are no exception to this fact. Even those who are financially able to maintain a luxurious lifestyle through an extended period of retirement are often choosing not to do so.

The recent global financial crisis has also caused many wealthy people to doubt whether planning for a sustained period of economic inactivity in retirement is a realistic or sensible option. Worries about the unpredictability of investment returns - as well as personal circumstances - may be encouraging this desire to keep on working.

This report, the 12th volume in the Insights series, examines the views of wealthy individuals across the globe toward retirement. Based on a survey of more than 2,000 high net worth individuals, this report considers what retirement means to today's wealthy.

It draws on insights from wealthy entrepreneurs and leading thinkers to shape a view of what this later stage of life looks like, and the benefits of what a generation of older, working wealthy may bring to society as a whole.