How much longer will you have to work before you can retire? It could be longer than you think – especially if you want a decent pension.

It seems that for most of us, retiring in our 60s is out of the question and the chances are we’ll still be working well into our 70s or even 80s.

Pensions provider Royal London has been looking at how long people will have to work to achieve the same level of pension as their parents’ generation.

Royal London says workers wanting a ‘gold standard’ pension should be contributing 20% of their gross pay

Its study, The Death of Retirement, found that someone on average earnings would need to work to 77 to earn the ‘gold standard’ of a total pension of two thirds of their pre-retirement income.

Someone targeting the ‘silver standard’ of half their pre-retirement income would need to work just past their 71st birthday.

Both cases are based on someone starting to save at 22 and contributing the minimum 8% required by the government under its automatic enrolment scheme.

The report found that if you wait until later in life you will, unsurprisingly, have to work longer to achieve that ideal pension.

Those who start saving at 35 need to work to 79 for a ‘gold standard’. Those who delay starting saving until 45 would have to work into their 80s to make up the shortfall.

Royal London says that to achieve a gold standard pension without working past traditional retirement ages, workers should be contributing about 20% of gross pay throughout their working life.

The silver standard could be attained with consistent contributions of around 11%.

Previous generations were able to retire earlier with a good quality pension

Individuals can shorten their working life by giving up features of pension provision including protection against inflation through retirement and provision for a surviving spouse, the report said.

Steve Webb, Royal London’s director of policy, said: “Getting millions more people saving through automatic enrolment is a huge step forward, but many face a cruel disappointment if they think that current minimum contribution levels will deliver them the sort of retirement they are looking for.

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“Without significant increases in contributions, we could be witnessing the death of retirement.

“This report shows that today’s workers are unlikely to be able to secure the quality of pension provision enjoyed by many in previous generations without either working well beyond pension age or contributing substantially more.

“Even those who save systematically from the start of their working life could face working into their late seventies if they want to replicate the best pensions of those retiring today.”