Better health means 70 is the new 65, says government report

20 November 2019

A new report from the Office for National Statistics says that as people are living longer we need to rethink the retirement age


The marker for the start of older age in the UK has traditionally been 65, most likely because it was the official retirement age for men and when they could draw their state pension.

However, a new report from the Office for National Statistics says that because of improving health and life expectancy this is looking increasingly “out of date”.

“There is no longer an official retirement age, state pension age is rising, and increasing numbers of people work past the age of 65 years,” the report says.

As people are living longer and healthier lives the report suggests it is time rethink old age and asks whether 70 is the new 65.

The number of people aged over 65 has grown from 5.3 million people, or 10.8% of the population, in 1950, to 11.9 million, or 18% of the total population, in 2018.

By 2050, there are projected to be 17.7 million people aged 65 years and over, or 24.8% of the population.

The ONS says that as people are living longer they can continue to contribute more to society through retiring later, volunteering, and providing care for family members.

The report suggests that rather than shifting the start of older age from 65 to 70, we should instead think of aging in terms of remaining life expectancy of around 15 years.

Using this system would mean that that old age started at 70 for men and 72 for women. By 2066 it will be 75 for men and 77 for women.

The report says: “Our findings indicate that health status by chronological age has improved over time while health status at prospective ages shows more stability.

“This means that measuring population ageing in terms of the proportion of people in the population of a set chronological age may not be the most appropriate measure to use when considering the health of our ageing population. Prospective measures, based on years of life remaining, may provide a more consistent indication and as such may be a more appropriate measure to use when planning for current and future health and social care needs and demand.”

The age when people start old age and retire has implications for a range of social policies, including health care and pensions.

The state pension age is rising, having previously been 60 for women and 65 for men.

The current state pension age for men and women is 65 and in 2020 will rise to 66. The state pension age is then due to increase to 67 by 2028 and 68 by 2039.

The report will add to fears that the state pension age could rise even further.

Earlier this year, a Conservative think tank led by former Conservative party leader Iain Duncan Smith proposed the state pension age should rise to 70 by 2028 and 75 by 2035 because people are living longer.

Maike Currie, director for workplace investing at Fidelity International, says: “So-called retirees are now healthier, living longer, and retiring at different ages. We’re seeing a growing trend of people planning to continue working after they have retired, defying traditional expectations. 70 isn’t just the new 65, in reality it’s the new 40.

“As baby boomers reach their 60s, their approach to their working lives will transform the world of work and retirement as we know it. And how we plan our retirements will need to reflect this new reality. Longevity means that part of life is longer, but that retirement might be phased and that should remain a choice, rather than a necessity. The solution lies in having a plan and knowing the amount you need to put away each month to fund plans, and cover your lifestyle needs throughout your life.”


Retirement age

What a load of nonsense - working people in construction and other labour intensive jobs (Farming etc) wear out long before 65. There is no way these people could work until they are 70. It is unthinkable that we have a misguided report that does not take these people in account.

In reply to by alex haniewicz (not verified)

Raising pension to 70

Whilst I understand the government has a need to fund pensions and allowances it is somewhat retrograde to have a blanket retirement for all. Agreed that a large number of people are very fit at 70 .The majority have been working at least since 21yrs old and earlier if apprenticeships have been undertaken.It must be considered that a large number will only be fit enough to undertake part time work
Especially if the major part of work has been with a semi or manuam position
Police ,firemen ,paramedics and nurses to name a few. Most will have been involved in the past in questionable manual handling techniques which have long term consequences into older age.
The demographic of older people being nursed also falls right into the age group.I know because it directly impacts on my job role.I do and have worked with people older than myself.What about professional "burn out " no downtime and due to having to work longer and older the difficulty in maintaining social networks which are so important if you become housebound and infirm .Ten years time for me means that I will 70 .I find a lot of my collegues are tired.Have been through relationship breakups as a direct result of antisocial and inconsiderate employers.
Furthermore if we are blessed to have family still living they are often in need of care
.Who supports the carers ??
Many older people have held on to the fact they would like to see something of the area that they live in rather than the constant daily grind.
Also if you are constantly working any alternatives for retraining or similar to aid this are completely non viable.
The thought of working till I am 70 fills me with dread and total anxiety.The older we are means all we will do is feed into the health service straight away instead of being there to help those less fortunate.
I urge the think tank to reconsider this urgently!!

Better Health & Pensions

I read the above with dismay, everybody health is different, if you want to work, then this is your choice, if want to retire, then you should be allowed to retire with your state pension, and it should be a good pension and retire at 65, so that you can enjoy life and not die early because you have worked too long. This government want you to die, so that they save on pensions, that’s what they want, how dare they.
Give the pensioners a decent pension and they will spend it, thus growing the economy and creating jobs, simple. No way am I working pass 67, as I want to enjoy life and be able to do things and feel that I am too tired to do things, because they increased the retirement age.

Enough said.

Pension age

Absolute bullshit. We work to live and need to enjoy a retirement. MP's and many Government officials retire on massive pensions a lot earlier than the rest of us! 65 should be the age when we could ALL retire.

Retirement age to 75

Our poor children will never retire.

Try finding a company to…

Try finding a company to employ you when you’re over 60. If you are lucky enough to be employed then at 60 most companies think you have nothing to offer. So at 65 good luck - no chance.

Retirement age 75

So, who's going to be the carers for our ageing parents and childcare for our grandchildren? All unpaid. We're now going to be 'encouraged' to wait for our state pensions until our 70s, whilst in our 'free time' be unpaid carers? If you can work and want to that's great. It should be choice and dependent on individual circumstances.


Talking about retirement for me at 68 as a person born in 1960. My dad said the government can not afford to pay pensions too many people. However he did say what about his generation, he is 81. we will all have gone making way for new pensions. The government seem to be forgetting this. A small increase in National Insurance could cover it and foreign aid. Never mind equality put women back to 60 so they can be carer's and help look after grandchildren!

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