Retirement 'won't make us happy', says surveyNew poll finds some fear stopping work

08 April 2008

The government today advised people to start preparing for the retirement 'cliff edge' after new research showed that some adults felt anxious or sad when they stopped work.

A survey of 1,000 people aged over 55 revealed a mixture of emotions about retirement, with less than half saying they were 'happy' about giving up their job.

Only one in four said they had a feeling of freedom, while a tenth admitted they were 'lost' at the prospect of stopping work.

Shock

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, and employers should help them to do this.'

Those approaching retirement said they would miss colleagues and office banter, but not office politics, the canteen and even the Christmas party.

Part-time work

One in ten confessed they would actually miss the journey to and from the office, while almost half of those aged between 65 and 74 said they thought they were too young to stop work.

The Department for Work and Pensions urged people to consider working part-time to cope better with retirement after the research showed that part-timers enjoyed better job satisfaction.

The report was published to mark the start of a two-year countdown to state pension age changes for women which will see the state pension age start to gradually rise from 60 to 65 from 2010.

Poverty

Frank Cooper, president of the National Pensioners Convention, said: 'Some people might want to choose when they retire, but the real reason most are unhappy about giving up work is because they are worried about being able to survive on a pension.

'They see stories that one in five older people live below the poverty line and they don't want to join them, but making people work longer isn't the answer.

'We need to give some status and respect to older people, by acknowledging the contribution they have made and continue to make to society and the economy through voluntary work, unpaid childcare and caring - and giving them a decent state pension on which they can live.

'The basic state pension has just risen to a mere £90.70 a week, with the prospect of being means-tested if you want a little bit more. Is it any wonder no one wants to become a pensioner?'

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