More than half of workers expect to stay in employment beyond the usual retirement age of 65, a new survey has found.

But working longer will lead to a higher State pension, under proposed new rules.

Major changes to the State pension, described as the “biggest ever structural reform” of the system, were proposed in September and will be introduced on a phased basis starting in January next year.

Workers will be allowed to continue working until age 70 for a higher weekly payment. Under the new scheme, the five rates are estimated at €253 per week at age 66; €266 at age 67; €281 at age 68; €297 at age 69; and €315 at age 70.

Mark Reilly of pensions company Royal London said: “After some controversy and backlash, the Government has chosen not to increase the age at which people receive the State pension but instead, it has introduced some flexibility as to when you can claim the benefit and how much you will be paid.

“These changes have the potential to radically change people’s view on retirement and to prompt people to really consider when they might like to commence their retirement versus when it might be financially feasible for them to do so.”

Mr Reilly said its survey shows that, while women are more likely to opt for less money earlier, those aged 55 and over and nearing retirement are least likely to want to take their pension early (31%) compared to more than half (51%) of those aged between 25 and 34.

“As suggested by these results, perspective and goals change greatly as you move through life. The retirement you envisioned in your 20s and 30s might be very different to what you would like for yourself by the time you hit your 50s,” he said.

More women would opt to take a lower pension before the age of 66 (45% versus 37%), while more men would like to be able to take a higher pension at a later date (27% versus 21%), the iReach poll for Royal London Ireland of 1,000 adults nationwide found.

“Only one in four of the population see themselves retiring at 65. Over half the population expect to work past the normal retirement age of 65 and, at least half of these people say they will do so because they have to, as opposed to because they choose to.”

More men than women said they would like to work past 65, at 28% versus 21%.

The poll also found that people aged 55+ were most likely to say that they believe taking the standard pension at age 66, as it is now, is fine, with 47% of this age group, compared to 24% of those between 35 and 44, thinking the current structure is fine.

Almost one in ten people believe they will retire by 55.

A survey from Bank of Ireland last month said that soaring inflation has sparked major worries about how people can afford to live in retirement and how much their pensions will be worth when they quit work.

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