Ruth Mitchell

North East women urged to think flexibly about retirement

Women over 57 years old are being encouraged to start thinking about retirement plans following new government research which shows that less than half of the population regard starting retirement as a ‘happy’ event. According to a survey carried out for the Department for Work and Pensions the traditional sudden end to working is not the best approach for most people, with under a third of people waking up ‘relaxed’ and less than a quarter feeling ‘free’ on the first day of retirement.

The results mark the start of a two-year countdown to state pension age changes. From 6 April 2010 women will no longer be entitled to claim their state pension at 60 as the qualifying age gradually rises to 65.

Of the people surveyed those approaching retirement admitted that there were lots of things they would miss about their jobs when they stop, including work friends (67%), being challenged (53%) and a reason to get out of the house (40%).

Pensions Minister Mike O’Brien said: “The idea that one day you work and the next you stop can be a shock to the system. These findings challenge the traditional ‘one size fits all’ approach to retirement. Many of today’s older workers are rejecting the cliff edge between work and retirement in favour of a gradual step down. With people living longer, healthier lives this trend looks set to continue and employers should help workers to do this.”

Steve Cave of Equality North East chairs a network of 60 of the region’s largest manufacturers. He said: “Age Discrimination legislation has given a new lease of life to employees over 60. “Companies are increasingly realising that they need to try and encourage staff who are getting closer to potential retirement to stay on, as they have vital skills that are very difficult to replace for example engineers, who are like gold dust at present.”

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