The normally accepted meaning of the word retirement is that one ceases full time work and then lives on a pension or accumulated savings. It was the accepted way of life until quite recently; work until 65 years of age then retire and live on whatever is available, including the state pension or old age pension as it was called.
In relatively recent times we have seen retirement take on several different meanings and a widening range of activities. 65 years is no longer the accepted retirement age for varying reasons, not least being the changes in the state pension qualifying age as people. Most people have to work until later in life - especially if the state pension is going to be their main source of retirement income.
But conversely, some are able to retire earlier as a result of private or employment pension schemes started earlier in life. Others are forced into an earlier retirement because of health reasons, or changes in employment status.
Early retirement simply indicates that one has decided - or has been forced - to retire before the accepted age for the individual circumstances.
Retirement should be an integral part of thinking, or planning your life. It always seems to happen very suddenly, even if aware of its impending arrival years before. The action and practicality of retirement should be considered as an essential change in life, and lifestyle.
What is retirement for me?
There is no longer a ‘legal retirement age’ in the UK. There is of course a legal state pension age – changing as every year goes by – but the state pension age is most certainly not your automatic retirement age.
Added to that, there is legislation to protect you from ‘enforced’ retirement from your work simply because of your age. There may be other reasons why you are forced to retire from your employment, but ‘age’ in itself is not a legal reason. Age discrimination has far-reaching effects, and retirement is one of them.
Nowadays – as far as the government is concerned, you are encouraged to work longer and retire later in life, but essentially the question "When can I retire?" is a matter for you to decide.
This is not a legal requirement (yet) but a factor which governs longer working is the pushing back of the age at which you can receive your state pension – the state pension qualifying age. The question to ask yourself, is what is retirement in my own particular instance?
The short answer to that question is “at any time you want to and are capable of supporting yourself financially.”
There are limited benefits available to those who simply ‘want to or feel entitled to stop working.’ Most benefits are now aligned to ensuring that you work if you are able, or are limited to a benefits cap that simply allows existence rather than a freedom-based lifestyle!
It is quite possible with the ever-increasing life expectancy, for some to spend more of their life in retirement, than they did at work! A typical example being the professional who leaves University for work at 25 years – works until age of 55 then retires on a well thought-out pension and investment plan. Life expectancy to 85 or more – could mean a retirement of 30 years or more!
Many look forward to retirement as an escape from the grind and humdrum of everyday life; others dread it, with the knowledge that they will not be financially able to carry on a full life, but will have to adjust quite dramatically to their new circumstances.
Retirement can be a traumatic or grinding experience - depending upon your personal and financial circumstances. Whilst it is seen by many as a fair reward for a long working life, the realities can be quite different!
Everyone at whatever age, should plan and provide for a long retirement.
March 9th 2017
***Child Tax Credit - From April this year the ‘family element’ of £545 per year will be abolished.***
March 8th 2017
**MPs are calling for a halt to the accelerating roll-out of Universal Credit as the ongoing problems are causing undue and unnecessary hardship**
Most Popular Pages - last 2 months