Many of us are living longer. For someone retiring today, the time you spend in retirement could now be 20 years on average. So it’s important to think about the retirement you want, and plan for it.
We sometimes see retirement as a ‘finish line’ – but it doesn’t need to be like that. You might want to slow down or change roles, or you might have caring responsibilities for someone. Working in a different way can be a good bridge into retirement.
How work helps
Most people build up their pension pot while working, by paying into a workplace pension or other pension through their job. And in most cases, when you pay in, your boss does too – so your pension pot keeps growing.
Leaving work early can have a real impact on your income (external website) – around a third of people who stopped work aged 50 to State Pension age between 2008 and 2010 saw their total household income drop by more than half. Staying in work, even if that’s working differently (such as slowing down, working part time or changing jobs), means you’re continuing to earn and continuing to save too.
As well as pay, working brings a range of other benefits as you get older. It can keep you active, provide a good routine and give you the companionship of working in a team. Working can support your health and wellbeing for the better, offering a balance between work and home activities. Having the opportunity to continue with learning and training can also increase your confidence.
Changing the work you do
You’ve gained valuable skills and experience throughout your working life. They can help open the door to many other roles.
Good careers advice can be useful for people of every age. The National Careers Service (external website) provide a skills health check to help you plan the next steps in your career.
Starting your own business or even signing up for an apprenticeship are just some of the options for older workers (external website).
Job sites such as No Desire to Retire (external website) focus on over-50s talent, and recognise the benefits older workers can bring to the workplace.
Balancing work and home
You may have caring responsibilities, and need support to work differently so you can balance responsibilities between work and home.
If you want to change your working pattern or reduce your hours, then you have the right to ask your employer for flexible working arrangements (external website). Talk to your employer about how they may be able to help.
Grandparents Plus (external website) is an organisation who provide advice on balancing work and caring responsibilities and finding childcare. If you’re looking after grandchildren, you may be able to get National Insurance credits (external website) to boost your State Pension.
You can claim your State Pension and carry on working. You’re not forced to stop working completely just because you claimed your Workplace Pension or reached your State Pension age. Staying in work means you keep earning and can keep saving too.
You can still contribute to your employer’s workplace pension scheme until you’re 75. Your boss will also keep paying in, as long as you earn over £6,240 a year (2021/22 rates) and you might still get tax relief from the Government.
If you’re over your State Pension age, then you won’t need to pay National Insurance (external website). That’s a boost of around £2,500 a year for the average full time worker in the UK.
You can save money on your travel to work. If you’re in Scotland or Wales, then you may also be eligible for a free bus pass (external website) when you reach 60. In London, you can also get a free transport pass when you’re 60. The date may differ if you live elsewhere in England.