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The work-life balance in retirement

Article2Sep18

Retirement means an end to working, right? That is the conventional wisdom, of course – retirement is essentially retirement from work.

Yet new research by the Post Office, published on the 26th of July 2018, suggests that such conventional notions are changing. Not only do around a half of all over-65s (55% of them) believe that things have changed, but many of them (46%) have translated that conviction into action by resuming paid employment.

Some of those over-65s had already decided to continue working beyond retirement, but as many as one in five first gave up work, only to start once again soon after the time came.

Why is that? Commenting on the Post Office research, the Mirror newspaper suggested two reasons:

  • financial stability; and
  • the routine, sense of purpose and, status that comes with employment.

Financial stability

Many people need to continue working or return to work after their State Pension age because they cannot afford to do otherwise.

A story in the Express newspaper on the 24th of April 2018, for example, suggested that poverty in old age is affecting even those who own their homes – with their wealth tied up in their homes, but starved of an income from inadequate pensions, they are “asset rich, but cash poor”.

The Daily Mail’s money pages on the 26th of July 2018 suggested why that may be so:

  • up to a third of all people over the age of 65 years of age rely entirely on their State Pension – the current maximum of which is less than £165 a week;
  • a quarter of all retirees report that they are also providing financial support to younger members of their families;
  • almost a third of retirees opting to stay in work are doing so to retain some degree of financial stability.

In response to their asset rich, cash poor status, an increasing number (around one in ten) of the over-65s are turning to borrowing by way of loans, remortgaging, or equity release.

Whilst equity release may be an option for some homeowners, it is by no means the only one and this underlines yet again the importance of early pre-retirement financial planning with the help of the wide range of services we offer here at Independent Pensions Specialists Ltd.

Sense of purpose

Financial imperatives may not be the only reason for people to continue working or return to paid employment after retirement.

The research done by the Post Office suggests that there is a more general redefinition amongst the over-65s about work-life balance – a question of fitting work into life in retirement, rather than abandoning it altogether.

Having a job is seen by more than a half (58%) of today’s over-65s as one of the key definitions of social status. A similar proportion believe that the work they continue to do determines how they are seen by others around them and that a working routine helps to foster a meaningful sense of purpose for those in employment.

The data cited in this piece is correct as at the time of writing

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