Reaching retirement age used to be a big milestone with men and women stopping work overnight to enjoy their new-found leisure time, doing all the things they had wanted to do for so long, focusing on hobbies and plenty of travel. Today however, an increasing number of men and women are choosing to continue working well past their retirement age – for a variety of reasons and this trend is gathering momentum…

In 2011, the default pension age was scrapped, and this meant that people no longer had to retire when they reached the legal retirement age – which is currently 65 years for both men and women, rising to 66 years in 2019. Older people can now happily continue working for as long as they wish – either in their chosen job or doing something completely different. For some people who have particularly physical jobs (such as firemen), the retirement age is still enforced, but many other employers are now appreciating their older workers and their employees in turn are enjoying their ‘new lease of life’!

Older workers are definitely proving to be a bonus for the British Government. 40% of the work force is currently aged over 50 and many employers are struggling to find younger people to fill job vacancies. Between 2012- 2022 it is estimated that 12 million jobs in the UK could become vacant – with only seven million young people to fill them. In May 2017 many well-known companies including Barclays, Boots, Aviva and the Co-Op pledged to increase the number of older people they employ by 12% by 2022. The Daily Telegraph published figures for the three months till June 2017 showing that 71.2% of people aged 50- 64 years were in employment – a figure that was very similar to younger age groups for the same period. The number of over 65’s remaining in work has doubled in the last ten years and trebled in the last 20 and will continue to rise.

Many people reach retirement age and just don’t feel that they are ready to give up work. Many are under financial pressure to stay in the workplace whilst others decide to carry on working because they enjoy the social side of their work, the routine and the feeling ‘of purpose’. A poll taken by a US newspaper in 2017 of 6,230 people aged 62, found that most of them wanted jobs that require ‘more brains than brawn’.

 For older people to continue working makes perfect sense! Life can still be balanced with trips out, family visits and holidays – particularly if the job is part-time or flexible hours. Working beyond retirement brings with it many lifestyle bonuses. Feeling happy, having a sense of purpose and having to ‘use the grey matter’ as well as not being isolated can all delay the onset of age-related health problems. Being physically and mentally active certainly makes people feel younger.

In reality, the choice of jobs available to older people today is almost as wide as it is for younger people. If you are considering work once you have reached retirement age, it is important not to limit yourself to the type of job that has classically been done by older people, you must consider your own personal needs and goals. If you are in a job you thoroughly enjoy, it might well be worth discussing the chance of gradually reducing your hours so that you can continue working, but with a phased retirement plan in place.

If you are pondering what type of work you will enjoy doing, you might no longer have to plump for the job with the higher pay cheque like you did when you were younger and you may well be able to opt for a job that brings you a huge amount of pleasure- even if the wage is not substantial. Work can of course be used to boost the amount of pension money that you have coming in. If you are looking for a fun job that isn’t wage earning, there are plenty of voluntary work and charities needing help. – particularly if you are financially skilled, have a retail background are great with young people or love animals.

Many people are concerned about the impact that a job could have on their private pension funds or their government pension and whether there will be any financial penalties for remaining a wage earner. For those with a private/ company pension plan, there is no problem at all about continuing to work. The only difficulty that could occur is if you were to continue working for the same employer but in a different capacity – this would have to be discussed through with your employer and the pension scheme administrators as each scheme varies. The amount that you are paid annually by the pension fund will be included in your tax-free allowance of £11,500 (single person’s allowance) so for example, if your pension fund pays you £5,000 annually, you will only be able to earn a further £6,500 before you start paying tax.

For those drawing a government retirement pension, the great news is that you don’t have to be retired to qualify – just the correct age!  If you continue to work, you will pay tax, but there is no requirement for people of pensionable age to pay National Insurance. Continuing to earn will impact means tested benefits, such as, help with rent and council tax.  Which has an advisory website that is well worth reading

With so much to gain from continuing to work , you may well be tempted to see what work is available and a browse online

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