How to stay young

Senior people playing video games

Like it or not, ageing is inevitable. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to ‘age’ in the traditional sense. While your bathroom cabinet may be stocked with anti-wrinkle creams, your life might not have to change too much as you reach retirement.

Nowadays, reaching retirement age doesn’t have to mean the end of your working life. After the default retirement age was abolished in 2011, the number of pensioners still in work has was recorded at 1.4 million, and is expected to keep rising. (ONS, 2012) 

According to our recent report: ‘The Golden Age of Retirement’, households featuring pensioners aged 65-75 have average earnings of £148 a week from ongoing work. For many retirees, that additional income is vital to help supplement their state and personal pensions, and staying in work is keeping them feeling younger too.

Don’t act your age

Staying young could be as much mental as physical. Have you considered that how you approach ageing could actually affect how long you live and the quality of your life? Makes sense, doesn’t it?  In fact, a study in America found that women who were optimists were 16 percent lower risk of dying from cancer, 38 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease; 39 percent lower risk of dying from stroke and 38 percent lower risk of dying from a respiratory disease. (Eric S. Kim, Optimism and Cause-Specific Mortality: A Prospective Cohort Study, Am. J. Epidemiol. 2016)

Expect to be retired for longer

Previous generations didn’t expect to live to a ripe old age, which meant that the time spent in retirement was usually quite short. But today’s retirees are much healthier and living much longer. In fact according to Office for National Statistics (ONS), since 1960, the average lifespan of a person in the UK has increased by around ten years for a man and eight years for a woman.

There are significant health benefits to be gained from choosing to remain in work. After a lifetime spent in work, retirees often struggle to cope with the sudden change of pace. Without the sense of purpose that a job provided, people in retirement can suffer from poor physical and mental well-being. Keeping mentally and physically active and maintaining a healthy and sociable lifestyle is beneficial for everyone. According to 2009 research led by members of the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College, keeping the brain active in later life can help delay the onset of age-related conditions, such as dementia.

Working to stay financially afloat

As well as the health benefits, there’s also a strong financial case to keep working. Many retirees choose to keep working because they’re concerned about running out of money during later life. Saving for retirement can be difficult, and some people don’t feel confident that the amount they have saved will allow them to retire comfortably. For people in this position, choosing to do nothing in retirement may not be an option.

But how much is enough?

Retirement income needs are often said to be ‘U-shaped’, according to Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon: “There’s high initial spending in active early retirement, a leveling out in the middle phase, followed by a final hike in expenses in later life, as poor health and the costs of long-term care become more of a consideration.” So, it makes a great deal of sense for people to continue working for as long as they can – while they’re at their healthiest and still have the capacity to earn.

Pension perks for staying in work

Staying in work during retirement carries other financial benefits too. For example, after you reach state pension age, you’re no longer required to pay National Insurance contributions on any income earned. The same applies if you’re self-employed. You can continue to receive your personal pension as you carry on working, although you won’t be able to keep paying into a pension that you’re withdrawing money from. You can also choose to claim your state pension even as you keep working. Alternatively, if you hold off on drawing your state pension until later, you’re entitled to take a lump sum or earn a higher rate when you eventually decide to claim it.

Keep on doing what you love

For many people, working through retirement is a choice. If people love their job, and the work isn’t too physically demanding, then in many instances there’s no reason why they can’t keep doing it. Some people choose to retire gradually, by making the transition from full-time to part-time work. The recent move towards flexible working is a ‘win-win’ for employers and employees alike. If you’re a retiree, you might be able to continue working in a way that suits you.

Could staying in work during retirement give you a new lease of life? If you have decided to work past retirement age, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch on Facebook or Twitter and share your experience.