Malcolm McLean comments on a rising trend towards ‘unretirement’ as record numbers work in retirement
Malcolm McLean, consultant at Barnett Waddingham, comments on recent research which shows that the number of people working in retirement has soared, particularly amongst previously high earning men:
“The continuing trend for individuals choosing to work on past traditional retirement ages clearly chimes with recent actions by the Government to accelerate the rising state pension age.
“Most people who now elect to stay on in work do so through economic necessity either because they do not have any sort of private pension provision or, even where they do, their pension plans have not delivered the level of income they had expected.
“The latest evidence, however, also shows that it is not just the “unpensioned” that have a need to return to work at a time of life when their forefathers might have settled for a retired lifestyle – it applies to formerly higher earning men as well. The reasons for this are not completely clear – it may be a reaction to the loss of power and authority that they had in their working lives, a desire to co-ordinate their retirements with those of their partners or other entirely personal reasons.
“It could even be something as mundane as finding life too composed and/or unchallenging. As one former chief executive put it recently: “There is only so much golf you can play, and after a year of it, I have had enough”. There is probably a lot of truth in that.
“One worrying consequence of all this is the effect that later retirement is having and will continue to have on the availability of jobs for young people, and the inter-generational conflict that may emerge if these trends continue. Another generation of inadequately supported pensioners could result.”