If you’re dreaming of leisurely days without work and counting down how long you have left until you can down tools and retire, you may have found yourself wondering what the retirement age is in the UK as of 2022. In the UK retirement isn’t mandatory and workers can continue to work as long as they like. This means that retirement age can vary depending on an individual’s health, wealth and job satisfaction, and personal choice.
The average retirement age however is around 65 years old in the UK and the earliest you can take your state pension is when you reach state pension age, so this will impact retirement timing for most people. Your state pension age is worked out by your gender and birthday and tends to increase over time. You can check yours using the government’s pension age calculator here.
Average Retirement Age By Gender
The average retirement age in the UK is 65 for men and 13 months earlier for women. As the life expectancy at birth in the UK from 2018 to 2020 was 79.0 years for males and 82.9 years for females, that’s a significant amount of time that you will need to carefully plan your finances for.
Retiring early means you could have 30-40 years to enjoy doing what you want to without work, but from the point that you retire from work, you will need to be able to rely on your pension or savings to live off and fund your lifestyle.
Depending on what you like to do, you may be able to live very cheaply, but other people will want to be able to enjoy their retirement to the max now that they have lots of spare time to do the things they couldn’t when working. Funding a lifestyle filled with holidays and activities could be very expensive and means that for most people, finding a comfortable retirement takes a significant amount of saving and savvy investments to get right.
UK Retirement Age Compared To Other Countries
In the United Kingdom, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has recorded a median retirement age of around 65 years in the UK which is slightly higher than the global population average. In South Africa, employees generally retire before they reach 60, French and Greek workers are predicting retirement at age 60 and 62. In Belgium, Poland and Spain, people generally leave their jobs when they’re 65 and the median age of the average American retiree is 62.
What Impacts Retirement Age?
Plenty of things can impact somebodies retirement age including health, financial security, job satisfaction and support networks.
If an individual is in good health, they may be able to work well into their 60s or 70s and enjoy doing so, but if poor health means they are unable to work anymore they may need to retire early. Those with good job satisfaction or that love to work or help others are also likely to want to work for longer than people who are unhappy in their roles and can’t wait to leave employment!
Financial security is also a significant factor in determining when to retire. Those with a comfortable nest egg may feel confident about retiring earlier than those who are still working to pay off debts or have very little savings to live off.
Finally, people with a good support network of family and friends may decide to retire earlier than those without this structure as retirement is an excellent way to be able to spend more time with the people you love and do the things you enjoy.
Ultimately, there are lots of things that can impact retirement age and there is no one-size-fits-all age as it will entirely depend on each individual’s unique circumstances.
What To Do In Retirement
For many people, retirement is a time to slow down and take it easy, but if you’ve retired young, sitting back is probably the last thing on your mind!
After years of working, retirement offers you the chance to relax and enjoy the years ahead and the way you choose to fill your time is completely up to you. Some people like to volunteer for a local organisation or charity as this can give a sense of purpose while also helping others in your community. Others like to travel and enjoy holidaying all around the work, whilst another option is to take up a new hobby or activity. Whether it’s learning to play an instrument or taking up gardening, finding a new interest can help keep your mind sharp and active.
Finally, staying social is important during retirement. Whether it’s meeting up with old friends or joining a club or group, interacting with others can help stave off boredom and loneliness. So don’t just sit around during retirement – it’s important to get out there and enjoy yourself!
Pensions And Retirement
As one of the main factors to determine retirement age is the amount of pension savings an individual has available, let’s look at pensions in more detail.
There are three types of pensions in the UK that enable you to fund your retirement: workplace pensions, private pensions and state pensions. Workplace pensions are available to workers based on their age and length of service, while state pensions are available to all citizens when they reach state pension age provided that they have met the minimum national insurance payment thresholds. Private pensions are set up and managed individually.
A pension is simply a way of saving for retirement over a long period. This is done by investing money into funds that will hopefully increase the value of your pension pot over time to provide an income to live from when you retire. The amount of pension that you get will depend on how much you’ve saved and how well your investments have performed.
A workplace pension is a retirement savings plan that is offered by an employer and now that all employers must provide a workplace pension for employees, it’s common for people to have multiple pension pots throughout their working lives. The workplace pension works by employees contributing a percentage of their salary to the plan, and the employer then matches these contributions up to a certain amount. The funds in the pension are then invested, typically in a mix of stocks and bonds, and grow over time.
A private pension is a retirement savings plan that is established and maintained by an individual, rather than by an employer or the government. Private pensions offer several advantages, including greater flexibility in how funds are invested and how benefits are paid out and are an excellent way to secure your financial future when invested wisely.
The State Pension is a regular payment from the government that you can claim when you reach the State Pension age. It is paid into your bank, building society or credit union account – or by cheque – every four weeks. The amount you get depends on your National Insurance record. You need to have paid or been credited with Class 1, Class 2 and/or Class 3 National Insurance contributions to build up your entitlement to the State Pension. The State Pension is taxable, so if you do not pay tax at the moment, you may start paying tax when you start receiving your pension. You cannot usually inherit State Pension entitlement from anyone else such as a husband, wife or civil partner.
Accessing Your Pension Funds
When employees retire, they can withdraw these funds from their private, workplace and state pension(s) as a source of income to fund their retirement living expenses. Whilst each pension plan has different eligibility and draw-down requirements, most will have a minimum age that funds can be withdrawn which is usually 60, but in some cases, it can be as early as 55 years old. There isn’t usually any upper age limit affecting when you have to withdraw your pension.
With the potential to have retirement income in lots of different pension pots, you can see why it’s important to have a good understanding of your financial position long before you are thinking about retiring. This will allow you to plan your pension saving strategy accordingly, including combining pension pots if it’s tax efficient to do so, so that you can enjoy the retirement that you want to have.
How Much State Pension Will I Get?
Whilst the amount of money in your private and workplace pensions is totally controlled by your saving contributions during your working years and interest earned, the State Pension is a government-funded retirement income that is not means-tested. This means that your savings, property and other assets will not affect how much you get.
The amount of State Pension you will receive each week depends on your National Insurance (NI) record. Under current rules, you need at least 10 years of contributions to get any State Pension.
The earliest you can claim the State Pension is 65 for men and 60 for women and if you qualify for the full amount of State Pension, you will receive £185.15 a week.
If you have less than 10 years of contributions, you may still be entitled to a partial pension and the exact amount you will receive will depend on your circumstances. You can use the government’s online calculator to estimate how much State Pension you could get.
Can I Make Up Missing Years Of NI contributions?
If you have gaps in your National Insurance (NI) contributions due to unemployment or low wages, you may be worried that you won’t be able to get the full state pension when you retire. There are ways to make up for missing years of NI contributions though, so you don’t need to worry. For example, you can pay a voluntary NI contribution, which will help to keep your record up to date or if you claim a jobseeker’s allowance, this can help you to build and preserve your state pension rights. Check where you currently stand with your NI contributions on the government’s website and make top-up contributions if needed.
Do I Need A Pension Advisor?
When it comes to retirement planning, there are a lot of important decisions to make. How much should you save? What type of accounts should you use? What investment strategies will work best for you? These are all complex questions that require careful consideration. For many people, working with a pension advisor can be a helpful way to navigate these decisions.
A pension advisor can work with you to understand your specific retirement goals and then craft a plan to help you reach those goals. They can also provide objective advice on investments and other financial matters. Perhaps most importantly, a pension advisor can help to keep you accountable and on track with your retirement savings. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the task of planning for retirement, working with a pension advisor may be a good option for you.
We hope you now have a better understanding of the retirement age in the UK. To recap, there is no set retirement age in the UK but the average age of retirees is currently 65.
Whilst the age that you choose to stop working is entirely down to you, there are plenty of factors that can affect your decision on when to retire including; the amount of savings you have, if you have a workplace or private pension to draw upon in addition to your state pension, your health and your overall job satisfaction.
You may find it beneficial to discuss your planned retirement age with a pension or financial advisor to ensure that you can properly finance the retirement that you’re dreaming of.