Photo credit: <a href="http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664">Stuart Miles</a>

More than one-third of pre-retirees do not expect to retire, according to new research.

The Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Ill., published this finding in a sixth biennial report, “The 2011 Risks and Process of Retirement Survey,” which surveyed 1,600 adults ages 45 to 80 (800 retirees; 800 pre-retirees, twice the sample number of prior surveys).

Conducted on the SOA’s behalf by Mathew Greenwald and Associates, Inc., and the Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI), the survey was carried out in July, before the most recent stock market volatility, U.S. debt downgrade and federal interest rate announcements.

When asked whether or not retirement applies to their situation, 35% of pre-retirees said it doesn’t, the survey reveals. This figure is up from 29% and 32%, respectively, of respondents polled in earlier 2009 and 2007 SOA surveys.

Nearly four in 10 (38%) of pre-retirees say they expect to retire between ages 65 and 67. An additional 17% of pre-retirees expect to retire after age 68, 16% between 62 and 64, 9% between 60 and 61, 11% between 55 and 59, and 1% before age 55.

By comparison, higher percentages of retirees stopped working in each of the age groups below age 65: 62-24 (21%) 60-61 (10%), 55-59 (20%) and (particularly noteworthy) under age 55 (31%).

When asked what event or situation might lead to their retirement, nearly one-quarter of pre-retirees said they will have “had enough money to stop working. The next two most frequently cited reasons included “started receiving a pension or Social Security” and “stop working completely.”

Fewer pre-retirees cited a reason that was more common among retirees: health problems or disability (4% of pre-retirees versus 27% of retirees).

A significantly larger percentage of pre-retirees than retirees (74% vs. 55%) indicated “wanting to stay active and engaged”) would be a major reason for working for pay in retirement. The survey reveals gaps between the two groups when given other reasons for continuing to work, including “wanting to preserve or build up savings and investments (48% of pre-retirees versus 31% of retirees) and keeping employee benefits, such as health insurance (44% versus 24%).