The survey, by Aegon, showed that working has positive effects on worker wellbeing and many did not want to retire.
And it was the non-monetary elements of work, such as mental stimulation and social engagement, which were found to be key influences on the way people want to retire.
This means that half of workers over 50 were found to favour a phased transition into retirement.
Aegon says the alternative to a “cliff edge end to working life, transitioning into retirement, gives workers the best of all worlds, by allowing them to balance their health and wealth.”
Maintaining mental sharpness was the top reason given for wanting to take this option, by three in five workers (59%).
Sense of purpose (44%) and social engagement (39%) were other valued elements workers felt they would get from continuing to work in some capacity.
It was not just the associated benefits of work that makes extended employment appealing.
The need for additional money to supplement a pension was felt to be a major consideration for 42% of workers, with more women than men citing this as a reason for continuing to work beyond retirement, (nearly half (48%) of women versus 39% of men).
The thought of stopping work altogether and completely retiring was a concern for a quarter of workers (27%) over 50, with one in 10 of them (11%) saying they were anxious about the thought.
A fifth (19%) admitted that beyond the initial excitement, they thought the novelty of not working would be short-lived.
Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said: “It’s interesting to look at why we’re working later in life.
“For today’s over 50s it goes beyond earning an income and is more about the increasing evidence to suggest that it’s good for not just your wealth but your health.
“Workers see transitioning into retirement as having the best of all worlds – benefiting mentally and socially from work, continuing to receive an income and enjoying more leisure time.
“Work is fulfilling for a variety of reasons and is a big part of a person’s identity, which makes stepping away from it a more difficult decision.”
He added: “Our research shows that workers over 50 appreciate that working provides so much more than just financial security."