As we reported this week on Financial Planning Today, according to a recent survey one in three UK homeowners over 40 (those not yet retired) are now planning to work beyond the normal State Pension Age (66 or 67 for most people).
Many say they have to do this because they will not have enough pension income to retire. If this is correct, pretty soon we will see a lot more people working well into their late 60s and into their 70s.
I do not see this as a problem per se for those who grasp the opportunities to work later in life, enjoying the benefits of the income and other health and wellbeing gains that come with it. I do not believe people should be forced to stop working as long as they are fit and healthy.
Working later in life, if you want to, is not a negative, far from it. If you don't want to, then it's a problem.
The findings of the survey are also a sign that the division between work and retirement is blurring. Part time, post retirement working is clearly becoming more common and phased retirement could well become the norm, not the exception. The pandemic may well accelerate long-lasting retirement change.
Of course, many surveyed by Canada Life had hoped to retire at 60 or 65 and put their feet up or do other things. That, sadly, will not happen for many, particularly those planning to retire on an income which has been significantly undermined by the pandemic.
The reality is that many will be forced to work for longer. They may have failed to put enough money aside for retirement or simply under-estimated their income needs in retirement. They may also have found the drop in income over the past 18 months has been a serious blow to their finances, particularly if they were close to retirement.
However it is not inevitable that people should have to work longer than they need to. Many millions can improve their retirement prospects through regular saving and planning ahead and, of course, by getting good professional advice whether that be from a Financial Planner, Pension Wise or another reliable source.
There is no doubt that post-pandemic retirement planning has never needed good, robust advice more than now. I’m certain many of those fearing they will have to work past 70, whether they want to or not, can tackle some of their retirement fears with good advice.
Action, not resignation, is needed.
• I’m on annual leave for the next 2 weeks so you get a welcome break from my views. You can catch up on past columns, of course, and in the meantime our latest issue of Financial Planning Today Magazine is now out well worth a read. It includes our Financial Planning Today Annual Survey and you can view here: Financial Planning Today Magazine - July-Aug 2021. Many thanks to readers who took part in the survey. Winners of the prize draw are being contacted and details will be announced in August.
Kevin O’Donnell is editor of Financial Planning Today and a journalist with 40 years of experience in finance, business and mainstream news. This topical comment on the Financial Planning news appears most weeks, usually on Fridays but occasionally other days. Follow @FPT_Kevin