Working in retirement - why not?

Future proofing your career - useful blogs

Retirement can take many forms. By definition, ‘retirement’ assumes that you’ve actually retired from the workplace but, as people live longer healthier lives, filling that time becomes much more relevant – and often quite necessary.

It’s not for everyone – there are pros and cons – but most people these days are fit enough to enjoy both the mental and physical rewards it brings.


“From 2019, the State Pension age will increase for both men and women to reach 66 by October 2020. The Government is planning further increases, which will raise the State Pension age from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028.” – (UK Gov’t sources). There are things to consider: 

  1. Employers used to be able to force workers to retire at 65 (known as the Default Retirement Age), but this law was scrapped in 2011, which means that you can keep working beyond then if you want or need to. 
  2. The UK Treasury can’t afford to fund this pensions requirement indefinitely.
  3. Although some will benefit from (now mandatory for those earning £10k+) workplace pensions or individual pension plans, there could well be an income shortfall for a retiree.

From a purely financial standpoint then, it can often make sense to maintain a source of income that will supplement your state pension. But it can also provide the joy having a continuing purpose in life – a reason to get out of bed, if you like. And, if you’re fit enough, why not?

Better diets, healthy living regimes and vast improvements in medical science have all contributed to this overall increase in UK life expectancy, along with a high level of ‘general good health’. Although the average life expectancy is currently around 80, the number of centenarians (100-yo) has more than trebled since the mid-80s and 90-year-olds have reached half a million!  If you imagine you’ll live to 90, or even 100, you can be sure that it’ll be a long time beyond your current retirement date. 20-30 years? That’s a long time in the garden shed or making jam!

OK, so what now?

There is a tendency amongst older people to think that, because they’ve reached that age, they’re now in that twilight zone of ‘past it’ abilities. Yet nothing could be further from the truth.

Very often, there can be simply no substitute for experience – whatever it is – but there is also a satisfaction to be gained from being able to pass it on to others. This experience can be highly attractive to employers and so, rather than think of yourself as being ‘past it’ and what you can’t do, concentrate more on what you can do! And the choices are endless, but you must first decide what you want to do, and why you want to do it.

It may be that you want simply to slow down and seek a part-time or temporary role. Starting your own business is very popular but will involve a great deal of preparatory work if this is to be a successful new venture. Passing on your knowledge and experience, e.g. teaching, training or consultancy can be very stimulating and, as it’s probably not physically demanding, there is no reason why you can’t offer this ‘service’.

In short, there is no reason why you cannot continue working for as long as you like. Increasing numbers do and enjoy the benefits and rewards that it brings.


Working in retirement should be something that has its own appeal, either as a means of supplementing income or just by offering job satisfaction throughout those years. Physical fitness, although desirable, is no longer essential, as it’s your continuing engagement with people that will sustain you. 

Invariably, you will gain much more satisfaction by being able to look back on ten years of work in retirement rather than just ten years….in retirement.


Key Points

  • The facts and effects of pensions
  • The extended life expectancy
  • Think about what you can do – rather than what you can’t
  • Passing on your experience
  • The range of possibilities open to you

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