Most working Australians feel financially unprepared for retirement, with the global financial crisis draining savings.

Australians are also more likely to be gloomy about their old age.

Investment banking giant HSBC, which surveyed 16,000 people in 15 countries, said the global financial crisis had hit Australian retirees the hardest.

"Australians have felt the GFC acutely and for a prolonged period because of the strong links between our pension and superannuation systems and equity markets, which saw more than 50 per cent falls following the crisis," HSBC Australia's head of retail banking and wealth management Graham Heunis said.

Some 59 per cent of working Australians surveyed said they were inadequately prepared for retirement.

One in six, or 17 per cent, of Australian respondents also believed they would never be in a financial position to fully retire, higher than the global average of 12 per cent but less than the US on 18 per cent and the UK's 19 per cent.

A separate survey of 1500 Australians, for Sunsuper Financial Services, found 88 per cent of respondents to be unaware of how much the age pension would provide them in retirement, even though one in three people believed they would be reliant on it.

"If you were completely reliant on the age pension in retirement it would mean only eating out occasionally at budget food outlets, saving hard for one or two short breaks near home each year, relying on the public health care system and free benefits to cover medical costs and only participating in free or minimal-cost leisure activities," Sunsuper customer service manager Steven Travis said.

Mr Heunis said younger generations of Australians would be more likely to be semi retired before leaving the labour force altogether in their twilight years.