One in five Brits work in retirement

Sarah Coles
C44C46 Photo of senior employer on black background business; people; businesspeople; man; male; businessman; person; senior; ma
C44C46 Photo of senior employer on black background business; people; businesspeople; man; male; businessman; person; senior; ma

The days of putting your feet up at 65 are all-but over, because now one in five people find themselves working in retirement. This makes us far more likely to find ourselves with our nose to the grindstone than almost anyone else in Europe.

Research from the EU looked into the percentage of people working between the age of 65 and 69. In the UK they identified that 19.4% of people were working. That compares to an EU average of only 15.8% .

When you look at the more developed economies the comparison is even more striking. In France, for example, only 5.9% of people work in retirement, in Belgium it's 6.6%, in Italy 8%, in Germany 11.1%, and in the Netherlands 12.7%. Only in Portugal, Romania and Estonia are people more likely to work after the age of 65.

When the EU looked into why people stayed at work, they found that overwhelmingly the reasons were financial: some 63% of all those still in work were there because they needed the money - while the rest were there because they wanted to be.

They highlighted that in the UK it's more common for pensioners to rely on the state pension for their main sure of income in retirement than elsewhere in Europe - such as Germany and Slovenia. This reflects the findings from the Policy Exchange, which discovered that the average UK worker has a pension pot of just £36,800 pounds, which will probably yield an income of only £1,340 a year in retirement. This would go some way to explaining why so many people need to top up their income by working.

However, the EU statistics also showed that those choosing to continue working in the UK were more likely than average to be doing it for non-financial reasons. In fact more than 40% of people gave it as their sole reason for continuing to work.

This reflects far more cheerful research from Towry, which found that while 65% of people intend to work in retirement, many of them would be doing unpaid or voluntary work. And of those who would do paid work, by far the most common reason they gave for it was the fact that they enjoyed working.

As Richard Rowney, managing director of life and pensions at LV=, says: "For many people, working for longer is a positive choice. Many people in their sixties and seventies enjoy their jobs and are keen to remain active in later life."

But what do you think? Do we want to work in retirement, or do we have to?

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