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Retiring from work is a decision which most people will have considered very carefully. Many people are now retiring at a younger age and living longer. Retirement can be an exciting new phase in your life and it’s worth planning ahead to make sure that you get the most out of this time in your life.

Your retirement from work will also mean changes in your lifestyle, and it’s important to consider the emotional and practical implications of these changes.

Do I have to retire from work?

From 1 October 2011, employers are no longer allowed to force their employees to retire if they don’t want to. This is the end for the Default Retirement Age (DRA).

Retirement age is when an employee chooses to retire. Most businesses don’t set a compulsory retirement age for their employees and if an employee chooses to work past state pension age longer they can’t be discriminated against.

However, some employers can set a compulsory retirement age if they can clearly justify it.

It’s an employee’s responsibility to discuss when and how to retire with their employer. This could include phasing retirement through:

All employees have the legal right to request flexible working, and even though your employer may not agree to it, they must set up a meeting to discuss the option and give you an explanation for their decision.

Planning Your Finances

It is important to plan ahead and ensure that you will be financially secure during your retirement. It may be useful to speak to an independent financial adviser if you need advice about your retirement finances.

RetireEasy is a website with guides and tools to help you plan and organise your finances for retirement.

Paying for financial advice

You can find an independent financial adviser:

If you’re paying into a pension scheme, you can ask your pension provider about taking out up to £500 to pay for financial advice on retirement. You can do this once a year up to 3 times without a tax charge. Not all pension schemes provide this.


The age at which you can access your state pension is 65 for men and is gradually being increased to 65 for women.  About four months before you reach state pension age you should receive a retirement pack from the Pension Service. This will include a pension forecast and an ‘invitation to claim’.

If you have a private pension or an occupational pension from your work, the first step is to check your entitlement and ask for an up to date forecast. Add this to your expected state pension to see whether you will have enough income.

Most people find they need less income in retirement; around two-thirds of your pre-retirement income is a good rule of thumb. If your pension is lower than you need, you have three options: pay in more, settle for a lower pension or delay drawing your pension.

You can get a state pension statement from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to find out how much state pension you may get, and the number of qualifying years on your National Insurance record



When you retire, your income will probably reduce and you may become entitled to certain benefits. Even if you don’t think that you will qualify for any benefits, it’s a good idea to check through an independent advice organisation such as:

Some benefits are not means-tested and are awarded to people with a long-term health condition or disability.

Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance are benefits to help you with the extra costs of illness and disability and, if you qualify, you will receive them regardless of how much income or savings you have.

Pre-retirement Courses

Many employers offer pre-retirement courses to employees who are approaching retirement age. The courses will usually cover topics such as finances, leisure, volunteering, and how to make the most of your retirement. list details of courses that may be held in your area.

North East Pre Retirement Association (NEPRA) arranges and presents pre-retirement workshops on behalf of companies or organisations for their staff who are approaching retirement.

When You Retire

While retirement ranks high on the scale of stressful life events, it also provides the opportunity to enjoy a new lease of life. You have the freedom to develop new interests, but on the other hand may feel lonely, isolated or bored. An important step is to plan your goals and to work towards them.

Health – Leaving work can impact your physical health as ‘necessary’ activity such as ‘the walk to work’ are no longer necessary. It is important to keep active and consider how you manage your time to stay well.

Mental health – Retirement can affect your mental health and if you have concerns about this they are just as important as your physical health. The Mental Health Foundation has produced a guide on mental health in later life which has many useful ideas.

Leisure – You’ll need time to adjust to your retirement but it’s important to stay active, and maintain a regular structure to your day. With more leisure time, it’s the ideal opportunity to:

Relationships – The changes involved in retiring can be rewarding and positive or stressful, confusing and frustrating. Retirement may also bring you together with your partner 24 hours a day. That’s a challenge for any relationship, but one that can bring you closer together. If you do find that retirement starts to cause problems in your relationship, it might be worth considering counselling.

Volunteering is also an option if you wish to continue using the skills that you have acquired during your working life, or if you want to learn new ones. Voluntary work is not only a great way to fill your leisure time, but you will be helping others and meeting new people at the same time.

Other Useful Information

Last updated: June 15, 2022

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