Almost two fifths of retired respondents in the UK said that they had not prepared adequately or at all for retirement (Reuters)

Nearly one in five UK workers expect that they will never be able to afford to retire fully, according to research by HSBC.

The Future of Retirement report, which surveyed 1,050 respondents in the UK and more than 16,000 people across 15 countries, revealed that almost two-fifths of retired respondents in the UK (39%) said that they had not prepared adequately or at all for a comfortable retirement.

Furthermore, 44% of UK respondents are resigned to the idea that they will just never be able to make up their shortfall.

The study also revealed that, while a significant proportion of the global population looks forward to working in lower life, the attitude of British people is far less enthusiastic. While 27% of people around the world intend to start a business in retirement, a significantly lower number of UK respondents - 7% - feel the same.

However, only 2% of Brits who were not prepared for retirement said they would have to go back to work to cover their financial shortfall, compared to 44% globally.

Moreover, the older a British person gets, the more they want to continue working - in fact 37% of UK respondents between 55-64 years of age said it was actually an aspiration to defer their retirement.

"A combination of increasing life expectancy and a move from the paternalism of employers is contributing to the numbers of people who have inadequate retirement savings," said Danny Cox, head of financial planning at Hargreaves Lansdown.

"Auto-enrolment is a positive initiative which should boost retirement savings and the introduction of the flat rate State Pension will simplify and improve the system for the majority."

Christine Foyster, head of wealth management at HSBC, added that "people want to slow down in later life and, while some welcome the chance to stay economically active, many may not.

"Whereas some people regard a comfortable retirement as a natural entitlement, for a growing number this is not the case.

"Today's workers should prepare for retirement as early as possible to have some certainty for retirement. Life is full of reasons to prioritise short term spending over longer term planning, but the sooner people start saving, the less likely they will have to rely on working in old age."