My retirement plan is to work until I drop. It’s my patriotic duty – and yours, too | Personal Finance | Finance

The state pension won’t provide anywhere near enough money to live on, even when I finally get it at age 67.

Neither will my various pensions and stocks and shares Isas, even though as a financial journalist, I’ve probably got more than most.

Pensioners now need a staggering £530,000 pension and other savings for a comfortable retirement and most won’t come close to that, including me.

So it’s time for Plan B. Which is to carry on working for as long as I am physically and mentally able to do so.

I’m far from alone in this.

One in three Britons now say they will never be able to afford to retire, and will simply carry on working as a result.

The cost-of-living crisis is forcing millions to work longer as their savings are depleted by rocketing fuel and food bills.

Others have stopped pension contributions as they battle to cover essential living costs, making retirement even less affordable.

The over-55s are raiding their pensions early, according to research from pension advisers WEALTH at work, and won’t have enough for later life as a result.

The pensions crisis has been brewing for decades, and there are no easy solutions.

The underlying problem is that there is no pot of money to fund the state pension. Instead, payments are funded by taxing today’s workers.

As the population gets older and greyer, there will be more pensioners, and fewer workers to fund them.

It’s a disastrous long-term policy failure and politicians have repeatedly refused to tackle it. Their only solution is to hike the state pension age again and again, while making noises about scrapping the state pension triple lock.

Both of which will make pensioners’ lives even harder.

Ultimately this is going to bankrupt us all and there’s only one solution, as far as I can see.

We kiss retirement goodbye and carry on working for as long as we can humanly can.

My plan has an obvious flaw.

I could potentially sit hammering away at my laptop into my 70s, unless my poor aching back gives out altogether. It’s a different story for the army of workers who dig ditches, collect bins, climb scaffolding, deliver food or lift bed-bound NHS patients for a living.

Many can barely carry on working in their late 50s, let alone late 70s.

More than 1.6 million adults aged 50 and over are unable to work because of long-term sickness, a problem made worse by booming NHS waiting lists.

Nobody is doing anything to help them.

READ MORE: Pensioners face ‘Age of Ruin’ as drawdown pots run dry years before they die

While we are free to defer taking our state pension to a later date, there is no provision for taking it earlier, even at a reduced amount.

This leaves those who cannot work in their 50s and 60s struggling on state benefits, while eating up whatever savings they have managed to assemble.

In total, some 3.5 million over-50s are out of the job market due to illness and early retirement, and although some are now returning, many will not or cannot.

Working into later life is a positive thing, if you can manage it. It keeps the money rolling in, and helps people remain fit and socially active.

I remember a canteen worker in my first job being traumatised when she had to retire at 60, as used to be compulsory. She had no family. Her job kept her connected.

I know several people who have taken early retirement and regretted it. Some have gone back to work.

I like my job, and would be happy to stick at it if I can.

Millions aren’t in that privileged position, so people like me should expect to carry on working into later life (and crucially, paying tax), if we are able to do so. 

Like most people, I don’t want to work until I drop, but it’s our patriotic duty.

Our country needs us, bad backs and all.


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