New research from Irish Life shows that in 2016 the average age at which its individual customers first bought a pension was 44 years - almost ten years older than in 2000.

Irish Life said the country's population of over 65s will grow by 200,000 over the next ten years as life expectancy continues to rise. 

Half of 65 year old women now have a 50% chance of living beyond 91, with up to 25% likely to live up to 97.

The figure for men is lower, with half expected to live past 87 and 25% beyond 93 years of age.

According to Denis McLoughlin, managing director with Irish Life Retail, research shows that almost two thirds of people had reduced spending power compared to when they were working, while 20% had the same and 15% actually increased their spending in retirement.

Mr McLoughlin said that 63% of those with reduced spending said they would have changed the way they planned their future finances had they understood the impact of reduced spending on their retirement lifestyles.

Irish Life said it is actively working with companies to encourage workers to save more for their retirements. 

It recommends a target of one third of salary, along with the state pension, for people to enjoy a comfortable retirement. 

Irish Life's Tony Lawless said that research has showed that 69% of adults think it would be a good move if people were automatically signed up for a pension at work.

"By opting all employees in at the maximum contribution level, pension participation increased from 58% to 90% with the number of employees paying the maximum increasing from 42% to 82% when when they were given the option to opt out," he added.