More than a million Britons now work beyond age 65, the highest figure ever. One in five aged 65-69 are in work, and one in 10 aged 70-74. However, few take it as far as the Queen, who celebrated her 93rd birthday last Sunday and is still plugging away.
When I was young I used to think being royalty must be a great job. Now I reckon it must be one of the worst, even with the benefits package. I certainly hope to call it a day long before I reach my 90s, and I bet you do too.
The question is whether we will be able to afford to do so. For a growing number it is going to be a close run thing.
Already, two fifths of people expect to work beyond 65. That isn’t surprising, given that the State Pension age will rise to 66 for both men and women by October 2020. However, 12% now expect to work past 70, according to new research from Hargreaves Lansdown.
Last year, the Queen scaled back engagements by 10%, and many ordinary people will scale back into retirement as well. The era of the cliff-edge retirement is drawing to a close, and I reckon that’s a good thing too. Work can keep you mentally aware and socially active. It would be nice to have a choice in the matter, though.
You also need to keep your debts under control. They may be affordable now, but you want them out of the way before you start easing off at work.
The other thing to do is to invest in a tax-efficient pension or ISA. Too many people spend their working life putting it off, with predictable consequences when they retire. Saving something is always better than nothing, no matter how old you are. Some could still double their state pension even if they haven’t saved a penny by age 50.
If you are investing for a minimum of five or 10 years, and preferably longer, the stock market is the way to do it. Shares may be volatile in the short run, but over the longer run give you an unbeatable combination of capital growth and dividend income. Your ISA allowance lets you take your returns free of income tax and capital gains tax.
At the end of this article you will see a list of five stocks you could buy to kick start a balanced retirement portfolio. Or you might prefer to spread your risk with investment trusts and exchange traded funds (ETFs).
Job for life
I’ve heard plenty of people say they plan to work until they drop, because they will never save enough to retire, but that is a risky strategy. Hargreaves Lansdown figures show that 866,000 Britons aged between 60 and 64 want to work but can’t do so, either because they cannot find a job, have caring responsibilities or aren’t well enough to work.
The Queen has a job for life, if she is healthy enough. She also has a right royal nest egg to fall back on if she isn’t. All many of us have is the State Pension, plus whatever we can save under our own steam.
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Harvey Jones has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.