Rishi Sunak says he ‘can’t resolve’ state pensions
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The retirement age used to be set in stone. At least, that’s how it felt. Men got their State Pension at 65, women at 60. Now it’s a moveable feast.
These days you can’t be sure you have retired, even AFTER you stop working. There is a new trend called “unretiring”, where people who thought their working days were done suddenly find their nose back at the grindstone.
The over 65s are flocking back to work as rocketing living costs erode the real value of their pensions, new figures on Tuesday show.
A record 173,000 older workers entered employment in the three months to June, even though the rest of the workforce shrank by 14,000.
In my view, this is only the start of the back-to-work trend, making retirement a thing of the past for millions.
The State Pension does not pay enough for a comfortable lifestyle, and millions struggle to save significant amounts under their own steam.
Nine in 10 self-employed people have no pension saving. They face a bleak prospect.
I’m not against working into later life. I expect to continue working into my late 60s and even beyond, provided I’m well enough and anybody will pay me.
This isn’t a bad thing in itself. Many struggle with boredom and lack of purpose in retirement.
A job doesn’t just bring the money in, it keeps people active and social as well.
That’s easy for me to say, as I’m in relatively good health and spend my working hours sitting in a chair staring at a screen.
It’s a different story for those with serious illnesses, though. Or manual workers whose body cannot take the strain any longer.
Or others who have simply had enough of work.
For them, the new trend for working into your late 60s and early 70s will feel like a life sentence, rather than a lifestyle choice.
It has been handed down by the Government, which has increased the State Pension age to 66, and will shortly increase it again to 67, then 68, then higher still.
Employers used to be able to force workers to retire at 65, which was known as the Default Retirement Age, but this law was scrapped in April 2011.
This was sold to us as a matter of personal choice, allowing us to continue working if we wanted to.
In practice, we will have little choice in the matter. Money will decide.
Work ’till you drop now sounds like official government policy.
This is partly the price we all pay for living longer, the big problem is that we aren’t necessarily healthier.
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This piles yet more pressure on younger people, who need to build serious pension wealth if they are ever going to retire.
It will create misery for older workers, who don’t have time enough to build pension, as the cost of living crisis squeezes incomes.
We all have a rough idea in our heads about when we will retire, but now we need to dispel such a daft notion.
There is no such thing as a retirement age that applies to all – now it all comes down to when you can’t afford to stop working.
Most of us will have to carry on for as long as we are physically able to do so, which is hardly a joyous prospect.
The retirement age is an illusion. Time to face up to reality.
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