Many 35- to 44-year-olds can only just afford to pay for the "here and now" and find it hard to save anything for the longer term, a report has found.
A third (34%) of people in this age group describe their finances as squeezed, meaning keeping up with their bills and repayments is a constant struggle.
Another 37% struggle with their finances from time to time, according to the survey from Royal London.
And while 23% of people in this age group describe themselves as comfortable, 6% say their financial situation is simply "unmanageable".
The report said the number of 35- to 44-year-olds who said their finances were squeezed equated to 2.4 million people UK-wide.
More than two-thirds (68%) of those in the squeezed group said that they could not afford to save more for their retirement while more than four-fifths (83%) of this group believed their finances would feel squeezed or even unmanageable in their retirement.
Nearly two-thirds (61%) of the squeezed group said it was very likely or somewhat likely they would retire later than 65, expecting to do so at an average age of 68.
The analysis of more than 2,400 35- to 44-year-olds found there was some hope that those who were struggling to keep up with everyday costs might be able to put more cash aside for their retirement in the coming years.
It could come from a pay rise, clearing debts and putting some more money towards retirement instead, and paying less in childcare costs as children grow up.
On average, those in the squeezed group aim to pay off their mortgage five years before they retire, which could also provide an opportunity to put more money into savings.
Here are five tips from Royal London to ease the squeeze and boost your retirement savings:
:: Think about your future finances as a key part of your day-to-day money management. This is particularly important in light of any change in circumstances, whether that be a change in job or pay
:: Get to grips with what your retirement will look like based on your current status. Many people surveyed do not know how much is currently in their pension or what percentage of their monthly salary goes towards their pension
:: Talking to and learning from friends and family, particularly those who feel more financially stable, can help increase understanding of pension savings and investment options
:: Set clear goals for retirement based on realistic levels of savings. Just 36% of the squeezed group have a pension. Take advantage of any matched contributions from an employer into a workplace pension. Be realistic about how much can be saved with a clear goal in mind such as a retirement date, lifestyle in retirement and the income needed to achieve that aim
:: Try to identify potential financial milestones and windows of opportunity where it is possible to increase pension contributions in the future. From the research findings, the biggest opportunities include clearing personal debt, mortgage payments and reduced childcare bills
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman said automatic enrolment into workplace pensions, which started in 2012, should help more people get into the long-term savings habit.
He said: "We have increased the amount many families take home by introducing the national living wage, which has boosted the incomes of more than one million workers, and by increasing the personal tax allowance threshold to £11,500.
"We are also helping millions of people, many for the first time, to save for retirement through automatic enrolment, ensuring employers also contribute to workplace pensions for their employees."