Do you want to plan for an early retirement?

There is no longer a hard and fast age at which you have to retire. It’s basically up to you and you can retire early if that’s your chosen option. However, you’ll need to be in a secure financial position to fund your retirement years before you give up work. The more pertinent questions, therefore, are when can I access my pension savings and how much will I need in total to live comfortably in retirement?​

​Do I have to retire?

The answer is ‘no’, as long as your employer is happy for you to work on. There is no longer a law that states you have to retire at a certain age. In the past, companies applied a default retirement age, which meant employers compulsorily retired workers when they reached the age of 65. This was phased out in 2011 to reflect the fact that people were living for longer. It is still possible for individual employers to operate a compulsory retirement age, provided that they can objectively justify it (eg air traffic controllers and police officers). However, workers can no longer be forced to retire on the grounds of age alone

When can I claim the state pension?

The rising state pension age means that people are getting this regular government-provided income at a later age. Since December 2018, men and women have qualified for the state pension at the same age (65). The state pension age then increases to 66 in October 2020 and to 67 between 2026 and 2028. In July 2017, the government announced its intention to increase the state pension age from 67 to 68 between 2037 and 2039, which is seven years earlier than previously planned. This means that those born between April 1970 and April 1978 can expect their state pension age to be 68 and not 67, but this hasn’t yet been approved by parliament, so the full amended timetable isn’t available. The state pension can cover a significant part of your retirement expenditure. A couple claiming the full basic state pension will receive a minimum of around £13,100 per year under the old system and approximately £17,100 with the new state pension (if both receive the full level of new state pension).

Which? research has found that a couple will need around £17,000 per year to cover ‘essential’ outgoings, such as food and drink, housing payments, transport, utility bills, insurance, household goods, clothes, shoes and health products. Check your state pension age using Governments Pension calculator. ​

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