Research by insurer Prudential has revealed that on average, workers believe they will retire around four years before their state retirement age, suggesting many have potentially 'unrealistic expectations'.
Anyone born after 5 April 1978 will have to wait until their 68th birthday before they can start to claim the state pension. However, the under-35s interviewed by Prudential expect, on average, to retire before they are 64 years old.
For people currently aged 35 to 54, their state pension age will be between 66 and 68; however, they estimate they will, on average, retire before their 63rd birthday.
For those aged 55 and over, the state pension age will be up to 66 years and seven months, but on average they expect to have retired before they reach 62 years of age.
Stan Russell, a retirement income expert at Prudential, says: 'Although people of all ages are expecting to be able to retire well before state pension age, life expectancy continues to increase, with the average retirement now lasting nearly 20 years.
'It is important not to underestimate quite how long retirement savings will need to last.
'Our previous research has shown that the average retiree in 2015 is 60 years old, but I often encourage people born in the 1970s and 80s to be prepared for the fact that they are likely to be working in some form or other until they are much older.'
RISING INCOME EXPECTATIONS
As well as retiring earlier, research conducted by Prudential earlier in the year revealed that today's workers also expect higher pension incomes than today's retirees.
The insurer says that the average person planning to retire in 2015 expects to have an annual retirement income of £17,000, with 45 per cent receiving an income from a defined benefit (or 'final salary') pension scheme, down from 52 per cent in 2008.
However, despite the fact that the proportion of people benefiting from generous final salary schemes is falling and will continue to do so, those aged 55 and over in work expect an average annual retirement income of £19,400; 35-54 year-olds expect £19,600, while the under-35s expect £21,400.
These expectations stand in stark contrast to the average private pension pot in the UK, which various estimates put at between £35,000 and £60,000 at retirement, while the state pension is just £115.95 per week, rising to £151.25 in April 2016.
Russell adds: 'It is encouraging to see people feeling so positive about the income they will receive in retirement. Many people look forward to giving up work and doing more of the things they enjoy.
'However, in a world where fewer people will benefit from generous final salary pensions, and everyone will have to wait longer to receive the state pension, making plans based on any false financial expectations may lead to problems later in life.'