New research shows that only 56% of people surveyed expect to be mortgage free when they retire, with 9% saying they would be mortgage free about five years after they retire.
The annual pension research, conducted by Friends First, also found that 44% of adults personally hold a private pension.
This rises to a figure of 53% who have either a pension themselves or have a spouse with one.
But 47% of people do not have any personal provision for their retirement.
Of those who do not have a pension, eight in ten are not confident of having sufficient income when they retire.
Only three in ten believe they could comfortably live on the current State Pension which currently stands at €238.30 a week.
Simon Hoffman, Pensions and Investments Director at Friends First, said there had always been a realistic ambition, for most people, to be mortgage free when they retire.
"We assumed that if we worked hard, we would have a retirement free from the shackles of a mortgage or other financial concerns," he stated.
"However the stark reality is that almost half will have to continue to pay a mortgage when they retire and they need to act now to ensure they can continue to make those payments," he added.