So we’ve put together this article about the risks and rewards of retiring or staying at work, to help you understand your options, whether you’re nearing early retirement age or considering working into your 70s, 80s and beyond.
When do most British people retire?
Most people retire when they’re about 65 years old. But there’s a big trend towards working later. The number of people working into their 70s in the UK has doubled in a decade.
- Life expectancy is rising steadily. In 1960, people lived on average to 71. That’s now risen to 81. Many of us want to keep earning through that extra decade.
- The information economy means that fewer of us are doing physically challenging manual jobs. That means we can stay usefully employed for longer.
- We’re ageing better than the generations before us. Fewer people are leaving formal employment due to health issues.
How to take early retirement
That said, you might be looking forward to the idea of putting your feet up and enjoying early retirement. If you’re a business owner, you’ll pass the responsibility of running the business on to someone else, then start taking money from your personal pension and living off any investments you’ve made. You might even decide to sell the business outright.
If you’re an employee, you’ll hand in your notice and access funds from your workplace pension and any private savings you’ve got.
Knowing how to take early retirement is one thing. Being financially independent is quite another. The good news is that we’ve got some tools you can use, further down this article. The important thing is to weigh up whether early retirement is the right path for you to take.
What are the pros and cons of retiring vs. staying in work?
Why it’s good to retire (be it at early retirement age or later)
You might just feel that work’s taken up quite enough of your time. Once you’ve retired, you can spend more time with your family and friends. Perhaps you have interests you’ve always wanted to pursue. You can use all the time and energy that went into your working life to:
- Study a new subject as a mature student
- Head off on learning holidays
- Pick up some completely new skills
Maybe you have health-related reasons for wanting to stop working. As we all know, work can be taxing. Nearly half a million people in the UK experienced “work-related stress at a level that makes them feel ill”. It can also leave you with:
- A sense of lethargy or general depression
- A high level of anxiety
- Mood swings
- Anxiety or indecision while working
- Feeling overwhelmed
- A lack of confidence
Nobody wants to live with that sort of stress. Stepping back from work entirely is a very natural way of removing it from your life.
Why it’s good to keep working
There’s more and more evidence that if you enjoy working, staying in a job can be good for your health and wellbeing. A 2018 Harvard report noted that “people who worked past the age of 65 were about three times more likely to report being in good health and about half as likely to have serious health problems, such as cancer or heart disease”.