OWNERS of small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) across the region may have to retire later, new figures show.

Figures released in the latest future attitudes report by retail bank Aldermore who provide financial services to small and medium-sized businesses showed that almost two thirds (63 per cent) of SMEs across the South East said that they would like to retire by 65 but less than two fifths (37 per cent) believe they will be able to do so.

Meanwhile, more than a third (35 per cent ) plan to work well into their seventies with one in 10 (11 per cent) saying they will never be able to retire.

Alongside this, the report, which surveyed over a thousand-business decision-makers across the UK revealed that just under three quarters (73 per cent) of SMEs, representing 4.16million small and medium-sized businesses across the UK, are planning to work past the current state retirement age, with more than a third (35 per cent) intending to work well into their seventies.

Meanwhile, of those across the south east who said that they intended to work well into their seventies said over a third (35 per cent) say they need to do this to fund their golden years, with 34 per cent stating that they will have to work in order to have a nice lifestyle.

However more than 48 per cent claimed that they like working with almost a third (31 per cent) saying that they enjoy the daily challenges their business offers them.

Carl D’Ammassa, group managing director of business finance at Aldermore, said: “Planning for retirement is at the top of everyone’s agenda once they reach a certain age, and it is a time that can be fraught with difficulties and concerns.

"It is understandable that in this current economic climate and with the UK’s ageing population, more SME leaders are working long after the state retirement age in order to make ends meet, with over one in ten also required to provide financial support to family members.

“Running your own business can mean long hours and SME owners deserve a relaxing and enjoyable retirement but it is in their own hands to ensure this happens by planning as far in advance as possible.”

“Despite a significant number of business owners having to work throughout their later years, it is encouraging to see that so many of them are still relishing the opportunity to be their own boss and lead the way well after they are 65.

"SMEs are the backbone of the British economy and they need strong experience and leadership at the helm.

"However, for those small business leaders who are passing on the running of their business to others, we urge them to do this as auspiciously as possible to ensure the firm continues to thrive in the future."