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More than a quarter of Irish homeowners that have a mortgage expect to continue making repayments after they retire. The research, carried out by Aviva Life & Pensions, found that this number was highest for those in the 35 to 44 age bracket.

Repaying and renting

36.5 per cent of those surveyed in the 35-44 year age group still expect to be paying rent or repaying a mortgage in retirement. Overall, 28 per cent of women and 25 per cent of men expect to find themselves in this predicament. Many also stated that they were unclear as to how they would meet these repayments during retirement. Almost half of those surveyed believe they will have to find additional work in retirement to supplement their income.

Working beyond retirement age

More broadly, the research has identified issues that will need to be addressed at a government level to avoid the prospect of retirees living in poverty or working well beyond normal retirement age to make mortgage repayments. The research argues that higher house prices, rapidly rising rents and the need for a very large deposit have changed the outlook for those looking to get on the property ladder. The result is that many are only in a position to apply for a mortgage later in life and will have to manage a loan term that extends beyond their normal retirement age. The research also notes that the numbers of long-term renters will continue to grow as many will never be able to buy a property.

What can be done?

Of those that will have to continue making mortgage repayments come retirement, few will have the option of selling another asset or using personal savings to repay the mortgage in full come retirement. Some may look to utilise a pension lump sum to at least put a dent in the as yet unpaid mortgage. There are options available to the government like increasing the level of State Pension and ensuring that workers start saving for retirement earlier. However, other more drastic measures involving property market regulation and rent freezes will continue to gain political steam.


A report of the Central Bank of Ireland published in July 2021 confirmed that those over the age of 60 represent a quarter of all cases in long-term mortgage arrears. This percentage is likely to increase in the years to come. Pensions are a very tax efficient way of saving and contributing to a pension from an early age will certainly assist in avoiding financial struggles in retirement.

For more information, please contact a member of our Pensions team.

The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.

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