Page last updated at 10:18 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 11:18 UK

Average male retirement age rises

Comedy characters Steptoe and son
Working until your mid-60s is becoming more commonplace

The average age at which men retire continues to rise and has now reached almost 65, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Between April and June this year the average male retirement age, for men who had worked past 50, was 64.6 years.

That was the highest since records started in 1984, when the average retirement age was 63.7.

The average retirement age for women who had worked past 50 was 61.9, which was up from 60.7 in 1984.

For a long time, it was a common belief that rising prosperity would allow each generation to retire earlier than their parents, but reality has now bitten
Paul Macro, Watson Wyatt

The ONS pointed out that "retirement" can mean not just a conscious decision to stop working, but can also be due to ill-health or a lack of suitable work.

But it said that the current trend was important to track because of the government's plans to raise the state retirement age steadily in the next few decades.

"The transition from work to retirement is of interest because of questions about whether people are extending their working lives in response to increasing life expectancy and pressures on pension adequacy," the ONS said.

State pension age

Under current government policy, the state pension age for women will gradually rise from 60 to 65 between 2010 and 2020.

And for both men and women it will rise further, from 65 to 68, between 2024 and 2046.

The average age at which men retired fell between the 1950s and the mid-1990s.

The ONS said that the average age at which men withdrew from the labour market stabilised after 1994, but has been rising since 2002.

"For a long time, it was a common belief that rising prosperity would allow each generation to retire earlier than their parents, but reality has now bitten," said Paul Macro of the actuaries Watson Wyatt. "It means saving more or working longer."

"Despite these trends, people can still expect to spend a much bigger proportion of their lives in retirement than was recently the case," he added.




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