Can working longer lead to a fuller life?

12 March 2015

Older workers taking a more relaxed and flexible approach to retirement will benefit businesses, the economy and individuals themselves, pensions expert and the government's older workers' champion Ros Altmann has said in a new report.

If only 600,000 older people who are currently not working were to move into employment, this could boost the UK's GDP by £25 billion, Altmann claims.

This was echoed in a previous report by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, which suggested that if people worked an extra three years, this could improve the real GDP by 3.25% per year by 2033, equal to an extra £55 billion annually.

Increase your retirement income

Not only would working longer help the wider economy, but it would also allow individuals both to save more for retirement and to spread their pension savings over fewer years.

"This is not about forcing people to work on, but supporting those who want to maintain a fuller working life," Altmann says.

"If pension provision alone will not give you the lifestyle you want in later life, continuing to work for a few more years can increase your income short term and longer term."

Yesterday Lord Hutton said in a speech that individuals must take responsibility for their own retirement and need to save at least 15% of their income into a pension.

One of Altmann's main points is that older workers should not simply write themselves off as unemployable, or assume that they should try to stop work by their mid-60s. Instead they should see retirement as a process instead of a clean break.

"Previously for some, early retirement has been seen as a positive goal - that no longer having to go to work is a better lifestyle. This often turns out to be a mirage."

Instead, she says older workers should continue to train and learn, and as they approach their late careers consider the pros and cons of shifting careers, gradually moving into a less demanding role, or looking at options for flexible working to improve work-life balance.

Altmann was appointed as government adviser for pensions by pensions minister Steve Webb in July 2014.


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