The paper from researchers at Keele University finds that healthy working life expectancy is well below State Pension age, with the average worker age 50 experiencing a further 9-10 years of employment in good health. The paper argues that older workers, particularly those of lower socioeconomic status and in certain regions, might benefit from measures to improve health & workplace environments.
“This study shows that it is risky to rely on your health allowing you to work until your state pension kicks in.
“To avoid retirement benefits becoming overly expensive, state pension age is set to gradually increase. It is already planned that state pension age will go up to 68 and the overarching aim is to preserve the average state retirement at no more than a third of our adult lives, meaning state pension age must rise to match increases in life expectancy.
“However, this means that people will need to work longer before their state pension pays out. Although some people are happy to remain in employment longer and may even choose to delay retirement and work into their late 60s or even their 70s, this will be a challenge for others. It is especially problematic for those that suffer health difficulties and find they’re unable to work comfortably until state pension age.
“This study shows that healthy life expectancy varies significantly and it is dangerous to assume good health up until retirement benefits kick in. Although you can defer the state pension if you want to work longer, there is no option to take it sooner if you’re too unwell to work in comfort.
“The only way for people to retire sooner will be to have private savings in place, which are accessible from age 55. Having a decent pension pot could give someone the flexibility to retire early, reduce their hours or move into less demanding, lower paid work at the end of their career.
“Anyone that wants to be able to enjoy some choice about when and how they retire should consider speaking to a financial adviser. They can help project your income needs in retirement and explain how much you’d need to set aside now in order to be able to retire earlier than state pension age.”