The Shifting Age of Retirement: The U.K. Changes the Age Eligibility for its State Pension


While some individuals have pursued ‘early retirement’, age 65 has long been regarded as the typical retirement age. While the number that decide to retire later than the typical age of sixty- five (or earlier) remains small, the proportion is growing, with many baby boomers expecting to remain employed beyond the typical retirement age.

But as populations continue to age and the number of people drawing pensions increases, the cost of providing state sponsored pension plans has increased. In countries that offer pension plans, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, and the U.K., governments have increasingly looked for ways to reduce costs and ensure there are sufficient pension resources for their populations. Options include raising the age at which individuals are eligible for state- funded pension plans and/or abolishing mandatory retirement ages. In addition, individuals are encouraged to remain in the labor force longer, where they are largely self- supportive and pay into tax and pension funds.

The U.K. has become the latest country (in addition to Canada and the U.S.) to raise the age that individuals are eligible for their state pension. More accurately, it has changed the time-line over which these changes come into effect. Originally, the U.K. government had proposed that the pension age would rise to 68 by 2044, but has now indicated that the pension age will be phased in between 2037 and 2039. The implications? For those already earning a pension, there is no change. For those that are still working, and particularly between the ages of 39 and 47 (in this one instance), they will wait slightly longer to draw their pension.

Of course, governments may change the pension date in the future if populations continue to age.

Further Reading:

Brian Milligan. State pension age rise brought forward. BBC News, 19 July 2017. Available at:

Andy Verity. A longer life means a longer wait for your pension. BBC News, 19 July 2017. Available at:


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