Much has been made in the past few days of Corrie actress Betty Driver’s determination to work until she dropped. Could that be the answer to the looming pensions crisis and the government’s deficit-reduction plans?
Retirement has been all over the news lately – increasing life expectancy has combined with plunging stock markets, rising food and energy prices, dire savings rates and plummeting annuity rates to create a bleak picture for anyone coming up for retirement.
So, should we all simply keep on working until we pop our clogs? Not only could this boost the nation’s coffers with increased tax revenues and lower state pension payments, it would help keep us active.
In my view, of course we shouldn’t.
Give us a lengthy retirement
For many people, retirement is the reward for all those years of work, something to look forward to. It’s OK if you’re an actor (and possibly a Which? researcher…?), but for many it’s just not physically possible to keep working into our 70s and beyond. And last week’s employment statistics confirmed that there just aren’t enough jobs for all of us.
That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t work for longer though – the current pension system wasn’t designed to support us for 30 years after retirement. Raising the retirement age to a more realistic level would also give us extra time to build up our pension pot, providing a bigger income when we finally do come to retire.
I’ve got a fair few years to go until I can retire – and it doesn’t really bother me if the government moves my state pension age back a few years. I love my job and it’s not physically demanding, so I’m sure I could carry on doing it right through my 60s.
Then again, I used to be a teacher and I can’t imagine wanting to stand in front of 30 hormonal teenagers when I’m pushing 70. The same goes for many builders, carers, firemen, soldiers – the list goes on.
Increasing the state pension age
However, I agree with the government’s move to link the state pension age directly to life expectancy, provided it isn’t set ridiculously high and there are suitable provisions made for those who have worked in physically arduous sectors.
But what would that mean for you? And is the next logical step that women should actually retire later than men, given their longer life expectancy… ?