For as long as most of us can remember, the age of retirement has been 60 for women and 65 for men in the UK; that’s when you can claim your state pension and look forward to your golden years. But with advances in medicine and healthier diets and lifestyles, we are all living longer and it is costing the UK’s Treasury millions of pounds. It’s even thought that some pensioners are spending more years in their retirement than they did in work, paying National Insurance.
The changes that the Labour government proposes to make are to increase the age of retirement to 68 for both women and men over the next 40 years. In stark contrast, the UK’s coalition government wants to link state pension age to our life expectancy; this means that for those of us who are currently in their early 30’s, the state pension age could rise to 73.
What are your Options at State Pension Age?
There are three choices when you reach the age of state pension, whatever age that is! You can choose to retire and take your pension, continue to work and receive your pension, or carry on working and wait to claim your pension. Those who postpone claiming their state pension may get more when they do finally decide to claim; there’s no limit to how long you can choose to postpone for, so if you are financially stable or working, it makes sense to do so! When you finally claim, you can receive the extra money as payments alongside your usual state pension or choose to take a taxable lump-sum of cash.
Working us to Death
To say that some of us will be forced to work until we are 73 is quite a frightening thought. The health of those in their 70’s, in general, is in decline, and when we finally retire, there’s the possibility that we will be too old or infirm to enjoy our twilight years with the ones we love. Other countries in Europe, such as France, are taking a different stance on the state pension altogether, with French president Francois Hollande unveiling his plans to decrease the retirement age in the country to 60 for some workers. This will apply to those who started working at the age of 18, older people who are unemployed and mothers of three children or more. Greece’s pension age is fixed at 58, whereas in Germany, the age of retirement is expected to rise to 69.
Reviewing your Options
It’s never too early to review your options and decide to take out a personal pension, if you are not already receiving one through your employment. At the age of 25, retirement may seem a long way away, but time flies, and you may as well make plans in advance to ensure that you can have a happy and financially secure old age. There are many services that have been setup in the UK to provide financial advice and pension reviews. Many of these services are free and can offer advice on topics such as the best places to invest to boost your pension and how to take advantage of equity release in your home as well as pension reviews. Always seek a qualified independent financial adviser for any advice relating to your pension and ensure that you discuss your options with your family. Don’t rush off to invest in the stock market in the hope that you will become rich in your old age, before seeking professional advice!
In this day and age, when we are all working longer hours than ever before, it seems unfair that we now need to work well into our twilight years! In order to protect yourself for your retirement, you should seek pension advice and consider taking out a personal pension to complement your state retirement fund, if you don’t already receive these benefits through work.