Some 71% of U.K. retirees said they started planning for retirement in advance, including 48% who started planning a long time before they retired, according to new research by Aviva.

However, its Voice of Retirement report, which polled more than 6,000 U.K. adults, found that 49% of adults in their fifties said they haven’t done anything to start planning for their retirement, rising to 54% among people in their forties.

Three-quarters (75%) of respondents said being comfortable enough not to worry about money is the most important financial objective for retirement.

However, just 36% of retirees who left their planning until they retired have achieved this goal, compared to 66% who started planning a long time ahead.

Read: How millennials are forcing financial firms to rethink retirement

Among those respondents who planned well in advance, 69% said they feel happy or very happy; 68% said they feel their retirement exceeds expectations; 72% have enough money to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle; and 65% are happy with their financial situation.

Among those respondents who are nearing retirement, 27% said they have not done anything to prepare, either by taking matters into their own hands or seeking support from friends or a financial adviser.

Just 32% of people approaching retirement have done their own financial planning research online or plan to do so; fewer still (29%) have spoken to a financial adviser or plan to do so; and just 17% have made a full financial plan or will do so before they retire.

Read: British need to retire at 81 to get parents’ standard: study

“These findings are inspiring and alarming in equal measure,” said Rodney Prezeau, managing director, Consumer Platform at Aviva UK Life. “On the one hand, it is reassuring to see the ideal of a happy retirement exists, and that many of today’s retirees find the experience exceeds their expectations.

“Growing older brings many challenges which mean happiness is far from a universal experience, but this shows that planning ahead can greatly improve your chances of finding fulfilment. It sounds obvious, but just by saving smarter you could be working towards a happier retirement.

“At the same time, the relative happiness of current retirees begs the question: is this a golden generation, unlikely to be seen again? It may be no surprise that many people leave their retirement planning to chance, but it is a growing concern when you consider that [defined benefit] pensions are on the path to extinction, the Default Retirement Age has expired, and high rates of home ownership and house price growth are far from guaranteed in future.”

Read: Employees facing less comfortable retirement than parents: survey

Aviva’s research also compared generational attitudes to retirement, highlighting a number of differences including a major shift in approaches to work following the end of compulsory retirement.

While 73% of today’s retirees said they have no plans to do paid or unpaid work once they retired, just 45% of people who aren’t yet retired can say the same.

Among retirees who still do paid or unpaid work, only 23% feel money is a primary motive, making it less important for them than feeling satisfied or fulfilled (48%), having new challenges or experiences (41%) or having a sense of importance or role to play (34%).

More than four in five (81%) find the work they do in retirement to be equally or more fulfilling than the work they did before they retired.

However, among people who are yet to retire and plan to work during their retirement, money is by far the most common driver, with 65% expecting to work for this reason.

Read: 56% of employers with DC plans think staff are saving enough

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com