Report warns on pension levels
Almost half of older employees could have to work and save for more than a decade beyond their state pension age to maintain their standard of living, a report has warned.
The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) study warned that around half of workers between 50 and the state pension age (SPA) will have to work for at least six years past their pension age, and most of these for at least 11 years, if they want to maintain a reasonable income.
Researchers examined how much longer over-50s in England might need to work and save to meet target levels of retirement income. They found that 45% will have to work 11 years or more to maintain a target replacement rate of living, defined by the PPI as 50% to 80% of gross working life income, while a further 5% will need to work for at least six years.
Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), said: "Many people in their 50s will be stunned by the prospect of working for another decade after they start getting their state pension. It's a huge ask. Those who are prepared to live on less in their retirement may still find they don't have enough savings, so will have to work longer."
The study - titled Retirement Income and Assets: the implications for retirement income of Government policies to extend working lives - comes ahead of a landmark overhaul of the system to tackle the pension savings crisis, which will see up to 10 million people automatically enrolled into schemes from this autumn.
Niki Cleal, PPI director, said: "On a positive note, around 40% of today's over-50s who are still working might have sufficient state and private pension income to have a retirement income that would allow them to replicate their full living standards in working life, if they continue to work and save until they are eligible to receive their state pension."
But she said that 5% of today's over-50s might have to work for between six and 10 years after the SPA, while a further 45% would have to work and save for 11 years or more beyond the SPA to replicate their living standards.
Michelle Mitchell, charity director general of Age UK, one of the sponsors of the report, said: "These figures show that the traditional pattern of retiring and living comfortably on a pension earned over many years of working has broken down. Lower annuity returns and other factors mean that more and more people will have to work past their state pension age - and often for many years - if they are to have enough money to live comfortably."
A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "Life expectancy is increasing dramatically, so we have raised the state pension age to make sure the state pension remains sustainable for the future. And it's important that people have the opportunity to work longer if they want to, which is why we have removed the default retirement age.
"We have linked the basic state pension to the higher of prices, earnings, or 2.5% to secure a more solid financial foundation from the state, and our workplace pension reforms, which start later this year, will bring millions into pension saving for the first time."