Savers waiting to give up work are green with pension envy over the money their friends and family get in retirement.
More than half of those still working believe they will end up worse off than their colleagues who have already retired.
While two out of three are urging youngsters not to repeat their mistakes and to save as much as they can, says a study by financial firm Prudential.
A third of workers retiring within 10 years regret not starting to save for retirement earlier, and a similar number who have little or no savings wish they had put more money aside.
Just over a quarter (27%) have saved into a pension since they started work, but 16% have no savings and 13% now feel they were unrealistic about the age they could give up work.
Not all bad news for savers
But not everyone is full of doom and gloom about their retirement prospects.
The research also found 40% of workers are satisfied they will be as well off as the generation that has already retired, while 6% consider they will be better off.
Stan Russell, a retirement expert at Prudential, said: “We’ve seen the retirement incomes of new retirees creeping upwards in the last few years so it’s not all bad news for those planning to give up work in the coming years.
“However, we are also seeing it become far less common for people to retire with generous final-salary pensions, so a degree of retirement envy among those still at work is understandable.
“But it is important to remember that for most people it isn’t too late to take action and make a real difference to their quality of life when the time comes to stop work.
Never too late to save
“So even later in their working life most people should benefit from saving as much as possible into their pensions and ensuring the National Insurance contributions they have made are sufficient to guarantee them the full State Pension.”
Russell explained working with a professional finance adviser can help savers make their money go farther in retirement.
“Pension saving and retirement planning has changed massively over the past 10 years, and retirement is now more of a process than a one-off event,” he said.
“A consultation with a professional financial adviser should help many people make the right decisions about saving while they work and taking an income as they start to wind down.”