Working 9 to 5

More over-65s are still working than six years ago

More people in the UK aged between 65 and 74 are still working compared to six years ago, new research shows[1]. The findings show there’s a marked increase in the number of people over 65 who remain in the workforce compared to 2016, and a fall in the number drawing their State Pension.

At a time of rising cost of living pressures, the data shows fewer people across all age groups eligible to retire have done so compared to six years ago. The greatest shift has been for those aged between 65 and 74. Whereas 92% of this age group were already retired in 2016, only 79% are now.

Disproportionately impacted
This is due to increases in the State Pension age, which was raised from 65 to 66 between December 2018 and October 2020 – and is set to rise further in future. The increase has disproportionately impacted 65 to 74-year-olds, who have been directly affected by this change in the last six years.

In 2016, 96% of people in this age range said the State Pension accounted for some of their income, compared with 71% now. This represents a 25% decrease in the proportion of people in this age bracket receiving part of their income from the State Pension.

Alternative sources of income
As the State Pension Age continues to rise, this age group will need to plan to find alternative sources of income. The research results show the gap is only partially being plugged by people continuing to work for longer.

There has only been a small rise in those saying wages or other earned income constitute a portion of their overall income – 23% versus 18% in 2016. For a fifth of people in this age bracket, an income gap left by State Pension deferral has not been replaced by wages.

Running out of retirement money
In the UK, the 65 to 74 age group is larger than ever before, according to the 2021 Census statistics[2]. People between those ages now account for almost 19% of the UK population, compared with 16% a decade ago.

For those over 65, money worries about retirement figure more prominently than six years ago. In 2016, only 1% of this cohort said they were worried about running out of money in retirement, while another 1% said they wouldn’t have enough money to fulfil plans and dreams such as travelling. Six years on, the proportion has risen substantially to 11% for both.

Amount of capital held in property
One asset that has grown for this age group, however, is the amount of capital they hold in property. Sixty-five to 74-year-olds have, on average, lived in their current house for 24 years, which means they have benefitted from nearly all the property price increases that have occurred since the late 1990s, when the current property boom began.

In 1998, when this age group typically bought their current house, the average cost of property in the UK was £66,231[3]. The research results show this age group’s property is now worth on average £302,000, more than four times the original purchase price.

Planning for a comfortable retirement
Nearly two-thirds of them own their property outright. Typically, those who do have been in tenure six years longer than those with a mortgage.
This suggests people may have accumulated more wealth in this asset than they realise. As cost of living pressures ramp up, the equity in people’s homes could become increasingly important when looking at ways to plan for a comfortable retirement.

Source data:
[1] Aviva Real Retirement Report conducted by ICM Unlimited April 2016. 1,506 general consumers aged 45+ Research conducted by Censuswide April 2022.
[2] 2021 National Census figures released by ONS
[3] HMLR’s UK House Price Index. www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-house-price-index-reports

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