Main content

Retiring Retirement

More and more of us will have to work into our 70s or even our 80s as pensions are declining and life expectancy going up. So, asks David Baker, is this the end of retirement?

Life expectancy is going up, pensions are declining. Meanwhile the official retirement age has been abolished, while the age at which you can draw your state pension is rising. As a result, more and more of us will have to work until our 70s, or even our 80s. So, asks David Baker, is this the end of retirement?

That may not be as bad as it sounds. For In Business, David meets people who could live a quiet, retired life, but choose not to. One founded a bikini company in her 70s, others sell vintage goods, or left organisations to set up on their own. For them, the very word "retirement" is negative, they love what they do, and wouldn't want to give it up.

Experts say that most of us will need to work into old age. Professor Lynda Gratton tells David that the previous life pattern of education-work-retirement will have to yield to a multi-phase one of different careers, broken up by breaks, even late-life gap years, and re-skilling. Why retire at 60 if you could live to 100?

The government, too, wants a million more over-50s in the workplace by 2022 - but not all employers are playing ball. Without the prospect of older staff leaving at a fixed retirement age, bosses are making them redundant instead, including by ugly means, and before they can draw a pension. Some companies though do value older people's skills and experience, and even take them on as apprentices. Until more organisations do this, however, it may be up to us to take matters into our own hands and prepare for a long working life.

Producer: Arlene Gregorius.

Available now

30 minutes

Broadcasts

Download this programme

Download this programme

Subscribe to this programme or download individual episodes.