Pensions: Working till we’re past it

4th April 2011

Do you think you'll fancy working when you're passed the age of 65?

On the eve of pension reforms that could push the retirement age beyond 70, Iain Duncan Smith said that many people will want to work for longer before taking their pension.

"Because we are living longer, most people don't feel like retiring at 65. We have many, many thousands now choosing to work beyond 65 and that's why we lifted that thing called the default retirement age, where you could be forced into retirement," said Duncan Smith.

However, some experts are not so sure that the majority of over-65s will be keen to keep on working, at least not full-time.

Saga director general Ros Altmann Tweeteed: "Saga surveys show 43% of over 50s happy to work past age 65 but most want only part-time, not full-time. Gov needs to plan for this."

Labour MP Stephen Pound said Duncan-Smith's comments contained a "strong element of wishful thinking."

"Forcing people to work on indefinitely condemns young unemployed people to the dole and destroys the life chances of older people who have spent 30 or 40 years working for a productive retirement – it is pretty cruel," he said.

The past decade has seen the number of workers aged 65 or over double to 870,000. Over 65s currently account for 3% of the workforce with many people forced to keep working due to outstanding mortgages or other financial commitments.

It's not just experts that think Duncan-Smith is wrong. His comments prompted a flurry of comments on newspaper message boards with many suggesting that the minister didn't live in the real world and had never done manual labour.

Crazyhorse wrote on "Perhaps some of the politicians would like to accompany me on one of my night shifts where I have eight pallets of beer and booze to put on the shelf by 6am. Anyone that has done any type of physical labour where at the end of the shift you feel completely drained of all energy will understand that working over 65 will probably put us in an early grave."

Meanwhile Geoffrey49 wrote: "The only people I know who want to work past 60 do so because they can't make ends meet otherwise."

Over on Stephen Hulton wrote: "What a load of rubbish. Most people would like to retire in their 50s while they still have their health. For every person over 65 who continues to work is depriving a younger person of a job. It may be cheaper to pay a pension than pay to keep a 20-year-old on the dole. It's OK working beyond 65 if you have a desk job but what about construction workers for instance?"

Also on Mindful Money:

Who will win and who will lose if the state pension is £155 a week?

Is the Government 'doing a Brown'? 

Budget 2011: What do state pension changes mean?

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