Pensions - Articles - Despite record employment of over 50s millions retire early

Recent ONS figures showing record numbers of over 50s in work should not divert attention away from supporting the millions who are forced to retire early from the booming jobs market, Just Group has warned.

 With an ageing population and an increase in the State Pension Age, the trend is for people to keep working longer. But research by retirement specialist Just Group reveals the high numbers of those aged 65+ who said they had to retire earlier than they expected, raising concerns about how long many workers can carry on.

 Nearly six in 10 who retired between age 50-65 said this was earlier than they had expected to retire and were forced to by events outside their control such as illness (25%), redundancy (21%) or to become a carer for a family member (10%). The results therefore indicate that 3.6 million retirees over 65 retired early due to circumstances out of their control.

 Only one in four (26%) said they retired early because they had enough pension or savings that they could afford to stop working.

 “Our research shows that for many the dream of early retirement may actually be more of a nightmare. Illhealth can strike at any time and becomes more likely the older we are, while redundancies are a difficult point in many people’s working careers,” said Stephen Lowe – group communications director at Just Group.

 “Being forced to stop work is difficult for anyone but can be especially difficult for those over 50 – four in 10 fail to find new a job within a year, a far higher ratio than their younger counterparts. Unemployment also means people cannot bank their regular income into a pension and may even be tempted to dip into existing retirement savings.

 “It’s so important that those getting closer to retirement take stock of their financial situation and assess their retirement options.”

 Just Group’s research also showed that twice as many women (13%) were forced into retirement to care for a family member compared to men (6%).

 Women were also one third more likely to retire early due to illness while just one in five were able to choose to leave the workforce for positive financial reasons.

 “The findings highlight the strain that providing care for family members can place upon households who are either entering residential care or require some other form of professional help – with the result that many people are forced into giving up their own jobs or careers early to provide the necessary support,” said Stephen Lowe.

 “This is why it is vital that people do make financial plans as early as possible ahead of retirement and are aware of their options. It means they should be in a better position to manage any nasty shocks and mitigate the impact on their life and loved ones.”

 The government’s free, impartial and independent service, Pension Wise, provides help and support to people from age 50. Lowe continued; “A call with the Pension Wise team can help people to understand their options of how to use their pension savings and help to minimise making decisions people may later regret 

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