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What Is The Retirement Age In The UK?

retirement age uk

There is no set retirement age in the UK! The choice to retire is often dependent on several factors like the ability to stay comfortable without working or having sufficient savings. Many people simply decide to work until they reach the state pension age that qualifies them for that.

Have you ever asked yourself what is the official retirement age in the UK? Do people choose when to retire and what is the state pension age in the UK? This guide properly explains the decisions that impact when to retire in the UK and the definition of the state pension age.

What Impacts The Decision Of When To Retire?

While the retirement age in the UK is a personal choice, there are different factors as listed below that impact the decision-making process.

Financial security

Financial security is one of the first considerations for when to retire. You should have enough savings or an income source that can sustain your present quality of life after retirement.

State pension is one guaranteed income source but it would probably be insufficient to live comfortably as you wish. It is best to have a passive income stream like rentals from private property and investments. With a passive income, you do not necessarily have to save too much before retirement.

A good retirement plan involves early planning or long-term savings while still working. Do not wait until you approach state pension age before planning to retire.

The State Pension

The state pension is a determining factor for when retirement is viable. Since there is no retirement age in the UK, you can use the state pension age as a decision-making guide. The state pension age is the earliest age that you become eligible for state pension income. It is different from the age at which you qualify for a workplace or personal pension.

The present state pension age in the UK is age 66. For people born after that date, the state pension age keeps increasing till around 68 by October 2037. You can calculate your state pension age here.


Choosing a retirement in the UK from a health perspective is quite personal. Individuals suffering from any medical condition or long-term illness might have to think about early retirement. Working conditions and its effect on health are factors that can impact life expectancy. On the other hand, working until old age can be beneficial for people who enjoy their work and believe it helps them stay fit mentally and physically.

Family Commitments

Family commitments or the desire to spend more time with loved ones can impact a person’s retirement age in the UK. An early retirement affords you more time to bond with your children or grandchildren. For some people, that is very important especially if they started working at an early age and hardly had enough time for family. Conversely, certain individuals can decide to work longer and possibly past expected retirement and state pension age if they still need to financially support their family.

Quality of life

The desired quality of life is one factor that impacts retirement age for people with a plan for their older age. Some people are working now with the hope of travelling around the world as they get old. For such people, retirement immediately after they attain the state pension age in the UK is viable. They most likely have been saving up for that life and would not hesitate to retire when they feel it is time.

Similarly, some people work far away from their families and retiring when they think they have saved up enough is an option. We also have individuals who look forward to certain retirement ages because they do not really enjoy their jobs. They can retire when they think they are older with fewer financial commitments.

Altogether, there is no right or wrong retirement age in the UK. People’s choices differ based on their personal opinions and situations. You should consider retirement if you are certain it’s the perfect decision.

Personal Preference

The summary of all the factors that impact the retirement age is personal preference. The best retirement age in the UK is the one that makes you happy and fulfilled. Whether you choose to work until the late 60s or stop working after your 50s, is largely dependent on your preferences and desired lifestyle.

There are cases of people who feel they’d be bored and idle if they retire too early. We also have people who think they need more time to oversee personal investments or just want to rest entirely from all work. It all depends on you.

Tips For Savings Enough For Retirement

Having adequate savings is important for everyone whether they plan for early or late retirement in the UK. How then do you ensure you have saved enough before reaching potential retirement age? Check out the following tips to save enough money that fund your lifestyle even after retirement.

  • Start early – an early saving plan immediately after you secure stable employment or income lessens the financial impact of separating a part of your earnings.
  • Make regular contributions – Decide the frequency of saving, whether daily, monthly or annually. You have to be consistent.
  • Consider investments – the reality of saving money for retirement is that you need a long time to save so much. However, trying out a low-risk investment like stocks and shares can yield more capital to meet your savings target.
  • Take advantage of tax relief – optimise tax relief and available government incentives to maximise your returns
  • Be flexible – changes in income levels, and emergencies can require some flexibility to your savings plan can help you stay consistent throughout the periods you work before retirement.
  • Explore pension options – consider whether a traditional or private pension is best for you and how much money you need to save each month.
  • Get professional advice – speak to a financial advisor on the best strategies to achieve your savings goal ahead of retirement. You can also discuss this with retirees that are doing fine.

Is Retirement Age Different For Men And Women?

There is no difference in the retirement age for men and women in the United Kingdom (UK). Although there was a gender gap that allowed men to reach state pension age earlier than women – that law was revised in November 2018. There is now a general state pension age of 66 years old for all citizens regardless of their gender. It is expected that the age would be 67 by 2028.

However, the equal legal state pension age for men and women does not mean both genders retire at the same age. A 2019 research explains how about 67% of men were still working after the state pension age compared to 63% of women.

There are many possible explanations for that but a general assumption is that some women retire early to look after their children or elderly relatives. Gender pay gaps and occupational disparities are other likely reasons.

What Is The State Pension?

The state pension is a core aspect of the social security system for those approaching or above the expected retirement age in the UK. The objective is to ensure that retirees have a secured retirement income that eases their financial worries after they stop working.

Aside from income, the state pension in the UK also entitles individuals to guaranteed annual benefits like free NHS sight tests, dental treatment, extra savings on public transportation fares and tax. The amount of state pension funds received is different for everybody and depends on factors such as the number of years of their national insurance contributions (NICs). Changes in government policies also affect the value of state pensions in the UK. Hence, it is advised to stay updated with policy amendments.

Summarily, the state pension UK scheme ensures access to secured retirement income for people who have invested much time working. You can use the online state pension calculation tool for an idea of your entitlements and how much you are likely to receive.

Working Beyond State Pension Age

It is possible to keep working even after you attain the state pension age. The reasons why people choose to continue beyond the expected retirement age vary. We have those who just love working and even derive some mental stimulation from it. Conversely, some people keep working as they have so many financial commitments to meet.

When an individual decides to work beyond their state pension age in the UK, they do not pay national insurance anymore

Anyone who decides to keep working even after reaching the state pension age in the UK does not need to pay National Insurance anymore. However, they might still have to pay tax when their total income + pension exceeds the stipulated value for an annual tax-free personal allowance.

Check here for more details about taxation after the pension age in the UK.

Benefits Of Early Retirement

While it is not mandatory to retire early, there are a few benefits for those who decide to stop working at an early age.

  • You enjoy more freedom and personal time to pursue hobbies, interests and activities that you have always postponed because of work schedules.
  • Early retirement affords you a sufficient break from the stress of managing a full-time role.
  • An early retirement age in the UK helps your mental health. Even though you stop receiving salaries and have to depend on savings or personal investments, there is ample time to think and rest well.
  • Enjoy more quality time to bond with family and friends. Travelling as a group and joint vacations are some activities you have time for after retirement. It is even more fun when you retire early.

Those are the benefits of early retirement age in the UK without considering the challenges and financial implications. Good planning and previous savings can help you navigate the post-retirement period comfortably.

Benefits Of Later Retirement

The other side of the coin is what happens to those who retire later than the state pension age. Aside from the obvious challenge of still working hard while some are already resting, a late retirement plan has numerous benefits.

Firstly, it allows more time to hit the post-retirement savings target and get a larger pension pot. Those who fail to start planning early for retirement get the chance to do so and even retire with more benefits. It is particularly beneficial to those who are self-employed or have a variable income.

Working beyond the state pension age also provides additional opportunities for promotion and career development. That leads to higher earnings and more social benefits like networking with more people and ending their careers on a higher note.

How Will Retirement Age Change In Future Years?

While there is no forced retirement age in the UK, the legal state pension age is 66 and is set to gradually increase over the next few years. The value should be 67 by 2028 and might later increase again.

There are even speculations that it might reach 70 years old although some people believe that would cause misery among middle-aged workers. Some even think it can cause pressure on already struggling public businesses.

It remains to be seen whether the state pension age would increase again or not but that decision depends on societal attitudes and economic circumstances. There is some belief that advancement in medicine is improving life expectancy and retirement age might go up.

Regardless of whatever happens, planning properly before reaching retirement age in the UK is the best way to navigate the change in finances. Cultivate a good savings plan while still working so that you can enjoy your retirement and maintain a quality lifestyle.


There is no forced retirement age in the UK and people can choose whether to keep working after reaching the state pension age or not. That decision solely depends on their personal preferences and the availability of enough savings or investments to cover their living expenses.

However, retiring late or early has its peculiar benefits as discussed in this article. Whatever decision you make on retirement age would be a factor in how much savings you have and your perception of work. It is important to plan for the post-retirement phase.


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