The poll of 2,000 people was carried out in advance of the independent review into the age of the state pension by former CBI chief Sir John Cridland, which is expected to be published in the spring.
Aegon pensions director Steven Cameron said: “If the Cridland Review comes to one conclusion, it should be to allow people to choose to take their state pension from an earlier age, such as 60, albeit in return for receiving a smaller payout each month.
“Everyone approaching retirement has different needs and circumstances, and we need a more flexible system which accommodates this variety.”
However, Cameron sounded a note of caution, adding that trying to implement earlier access would require significant forward planning.
“If you allow people to start accessing state pension earlier at a reduced level you create a timing issue for the government because they would be starting more state pensions sooner. Over the next 30 years that would even itself out, but in the short term they would be paying more out than they had planned, which would create a budgetary timing issue.”
He also argued that even if early access to the state pension was to become a reality, it should be later in life that the current age for private pensions, which was raised from 50 to 55 by the Labour government in 2010.
Other findings from the survey revealed that almost a quarter of respondents thought state pension payments would be reduced in future, and 17 per cent said they feared further rises in the state pension age, rising to 24 per cent among the age group between 45 and 54.