Research from Saga Group into the UK retirement landscape has revealed that Britain's best off retirees are those in their 80s who worked right up to standard state retirement age and are living off company pensions.

The study has examined the means and expectations of the newly retired, older retirees plus people still working; the conclusion is that the newly retired and tomorrow’s retirees could learn a lot from those who have already stopped working, in order to achieve their dreams of an affluent and active retirement.

The research has revealed a prosperous and happy generation of retirees, with 70% of people no longer working able to afford to do most things they would want to. Less than one in five retirees in their 80s have not been able to afford most things through their retirement, compared to 30% of retired 50-somethings who, as their age suggests, took early retirement. Over three quarters of retirees in their 80s are better off or at least as well off in retirement as they expected, compared to just 15% of retirees in their 50s who are better off than they expected to be, and 49% who are as well off as they expected to be.

Retirees relying on company plans are revealed to be wealthiest and most able to afford everything in retirement. Just 15% of company pensioners are not able to afford all that they need in retirement. Worst off are those on a state pension, where over a quarter of people admit to going short once they stopped working.

Hand in hand with adequate means in retirement comes enjoyment, as company pensioners are also most likely to feel that retirement lives up to their expectations, with just 15% of them feeling short-changed by their retirement reality. However the majority of retirees have their major income from a state pension followed by a company pension and 16% draw income from a personal pension.

Andrew Goodsell, CEO of Saga Group, commented: The experiences of people already enjoying life without work should act as an example to those who want to ensure an active and affluent retirement. It is not too late for people nearing, or those who have recently stopped working to make a few sound choices to ensure they can live that retirement dream.