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The default retirement age for men and women in the UK is now down to personal choice, with the UK government stating that there is no retirement age or forced retirement age. Instead, you can work as long as you wish and decide when to retire.
With that being said, the State Pension age for men and women in the UK is something different - this being the age at which you can access a state pension.
Keep reading to learn about the average retirement age in the UK, state and workplace/personal pensions, and how being self-employed can affect retirement.
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The average retirement age in the UK is just under 65 years old.
The UK no longer has a mandatory retirement age or forced retirement age. This law was changed in the Pensions Act 2011 to stop employers from encouraging people to retire at 65 as the default retirement age.
Now, you can continue working for as long as you want (or need) to after you reach state pension age.
Instead, there are pension credit qualifying ages - these being the age at which you can access a pension, whether this be a state pension or any other private pension you might have.
The average retirement age in the UK for women is 64 years old.
There has been an increase in women's State Pension age. Since October 2020, women have been able to start claiming a state pension at the age of 66.
Previously, women were able to claim their state pension at the age of 60. By 2028, this age will rise to 67, and will again rise to 68 for many younger people in the future. There is no official age that a woman can retire.
The average retirement age in the UK for men is just over 65 years old.
Much like with women, the current state pension age for men is 66 years old. This is also set to rise from 66 to 67 in 2028, and again to 68 in the future.
Currently, the state pension age is 66 for both men and women.
The age at which you’re eligible for a state pension also depends on when you were born. Both men and women born after April 6th 1978 now have a state pension age of 68.
To control the cost of rising state pensions, many people have called for the UK government to increase the UK retirement age to 70 by 2046. The average retirement age has been steadily increasing since the mid-1900s in line with increasing life expectancies.
Under the 2011 Pensions Act, the pension age for women was increased to 65, before becoming 66 for both men and women. This will rise to 67 for people retiring between 2026 and 2028. Previously, women could get their state pension at 60, while men could start claiming at 65.
The age at which you can start claiming your state pension also depends on when you were born. Men and women born after April 6, 1978 have to wait slightly longer to claim their pension, whereas those born before April 6, 1970 will be able to claim slightly earlier.
You can check your state pension age using GOV.UK’s handy tool. All you need to do is enter your date of birth and it’ll tell you when you’ll be able to start claiming.
You can use GOV.UK’s state pension forecast to see how much state pension you could get, when you can get it and how to increase it if possible. The State Pension for couples works the same as it does for individuals.
You can use a pension tracing service to find an old or lost pension as well.
Since April 2010, the retirement age for men and women in the UK has undergone some fairly progressive changes.
Now, the current retirement age and amount received are regularly reviewed - around once every five years - to ensure that the pension amount is fair and the retirement age remains in line with average life expectancy.
Life expectancy increased from 78.5 in 1948 to around 87.8 in 2017. It makes sense then that amendments to the pension age are necessary, to control the number of people above the UK pension age. Other economic factors can also affect the state pension age for men and women.
So yes, the state pension age will change again. It will reach 67 by 2028 and is expected to become 68 in the future.
Under the current law, the State Pension age is due to increase to 68 between 2044 and 2046.
Following a recent review, the government has announced plans to bring this timetable forward. If approved by parliament, the State Pension age would instead increase to 68 between 2037 and 2039. These changes will likely increase the age that women and men retire in the UK.
|Your Date of Birth||How the Proposals Affect You|
|On or before 5th April 1970||No change|
|Between 6th April 1970 and 5th April 1978||Your State Pension age is currently 67. It would increase to 67 years and 1 month, and 68 years, depending on your date of birth|
|After 6th April 1978||No change. Your State Pension age remains 68|
The ‘Pension Freedom’ rules mean that your pension can be accessed while you’re still working. These rules mean that you can access your personal pensions at the age of 55 (increasing to 57 in 2028), without getting an unauthorised payment tax charge.
Most modern workplace pensions and personal pensions are defined contribution schemes, with the pension’s value being determined by money contributed and investment performance over time.
When you reach this age (currently 55), you can take 25% of your personal pension tax-free as a lump sum or in several smaller amounts. You can then use the rest as you wish, either by making more withdrawals (and paying income tax) or by buying an annuity.
An annuity is a product that provides you with a guaranteed income for the rest of your life, depending on the size of your personal pension and other factors like age and health. A popular example is an immediate needs annuity.
Retirement ages are considered to be when you can access pensions. With that being said, if you wish to retire or simply stop working then there’s no set age.
For many people, retirement means the ability to stop working while remaining financially secure, with a state pension being the thing that provides this much-needed security.
The earlier you begin your retirement planning and start saving, the better. This way, you won’t need to contribute as much to your pension each month as a healthy amount should have already built up.
To better understand your options and whether early retirement is financially viable, we’d recommend seeking professional retirement advice. This will give you a better understanding of your financial situation.
When you choose to retire may also be influenced by the age at which you can enter a retirement home or retirement village. The majority set a minimum age of 55, 60 or 65. You may want to do some extra research around what retirement villages are, along with the same for retirement homes.
While some company owners might be able to sell their business to largely fund their retirement, many self-employed people are their business. This means that when it comes to retirement, the business itself probably won’t hold much value.
This is why it’s important to use a pension as a self-employed worker (although many find it difficult to save). According to IPSE, only 31% of self-employed people are paying into a pension.
The benefit of paying into a pension is still clear. Doing this gives you a very generous tax relief on your contributions - often up to £40,000 a year. If you’re a basic-rate taxpayer, this will work out as an extra £25 for every £100 you pay in.
The UK retirement age has undergone several changes and is expected to continue changing in the future. Ultimately, the retirement age and state pension age shouldn’t be thought of as the same thing in the UK.
The default retirement age can be much earlier if the opportunity is there. On the other hand, you can also continue working after reaching your UK pension age if you wish.
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