Call us now on

0800 201 4811

Working After Retirement – Is It For You?

Gina Narramore

Gina Narramore



More and more people are choosing to put off their retirement and continue working. Plus, in many other cases, those who have already retired are looking to return to work. Here, we weigh up the pros and cons of each situation.

According to official ONS data, more people – particularly women – are working after the age of 65. The graph below shows the trend line of the number of working women over 65 covering the last 26 years, and as you can see, it’s continuing to rise. It’s a similar situation for men too with an increasing number choosing to return to work or to keep working after retirement.

Source: ONS

In the majority of jobs and professions in the UK, there’s no rule saying you have to retire at a specific age. There are only a few exceptions to this, like roles that require physical exertion, or roles with a legal age limit – otherwise you can happily continue to work past your ‘State Pension age’.

Equally, if you have already retired but feel you’d like to return to work then you can – although there can be knock on effects to your pensions and the amount you can receive.

Much like any big decision, there will be pros and cons to either of these scenarios. So, to help make things a little clearer for you (if either of these situations are something you’re considering), we’ve detailed the positives and negatives of these situations, as well as your rights when working after retirement.

Returning to work after retirement and working past retirement age: Your rights

According to these Government guidelines, you have every right to keep working after your State Pension age as there’s no longer any ‘default retirement age’ in place in the UK. However, as mentioned above, you can be forced to retire if your employer has a good reason for you to do so. The examples the Government lists are:

  • Your job requires specific physical abilities (and you may no longer be able to perform the tasks safely or to the right standard).
  • There’s already a set age limit on the job you have (which you will have agreed to when you signed your employment contract).

This other helpful Government guide also details your rights when it comes to claiming your pension when working past retirement age. It explains that you can still claim your State Pension regardless of whether you plan to continue working or if you’re looking to go back to work after you’ve officially retired. The only requirement is that you are at the current State Pension age at that point in time. For any other personal pensions, you can still claim these at the age you originally agreed with the provider.

What you need to be aware of though is that if you continue working, but on a reduced number of hours or part time, it can impact on the total pension payments you receive from your workplace. What’s more, despite the fact you’ll stop paying National Insurance when you reach the State Pension age, the amount of Income Tax you pay could increase if you start claiming any pensions, as these can be added to your total taxable income.

If you’re ever in any doubt about any aspect of your pension or how your working status might be affected, you can also contact Pension Wise, who can offer free, useful advice both over the phone and online.

So, now you know more about your rights, let’s weigh up the potential benefits and disadvantages of the different options you have for working after retirement.

Delaying your retirement: The pros

If you delay your retirement and continue working, there are these potential positives to enjoy:

  • You get to continue doing the work you love with your colleagues – even if you choose to do this on a part time basis.
  • If you have any work benefits (private health, company cars etc.) you will continue to receive these.
  • It can be a great way to keep your body and mind active.
  • It can be financially beneficial for you and your family to keep working longer.

Delaying your retirement: The cons

The potential cons to doing this include:

  • If you delay your retirement and keep working, you are shortening the retirement time you could have.
  • If your job is quite physically demanding, stressful or high-intensity, prolonging this can lead to health issues in later life.
  • You could be preventing younger people from advancing in their careers if you look at the bigger picture.

Returning to work: The Pros

If you’re currently retired and not working, these are the pros you could enjoy by returning to work:

  • It gives you opportunities to try a new line of work.
  • Working can help to stave off boredom in retirement.
  • You can give your finances a boost if you find your pensions and savings aren’t quite enough.
  • It can bring a sense of routine and structure back into your life.

Returning to work: The cons

The cons to be aware of with this though are:

  • If you are claiming your pension, as alluded to earlier, your additional earnings from work can push you into a higher tax bracket.
  • You may struggle to readapt to working life. This is especially true if you’ve been away from work for a few months. The staff may have changed and there may be new systems and processes in place that you find challenging.
  • It may be difficult to secure a similar role to the one you left.

Additional useful advice to help you decide

One of the main reasons you may want to return to work or delay retiring is because you feel, or are worried about, feeling lonely in your retirement. This is perfectly understandable and not uncommon, as our recent study into loneliness among the over-65s has shown that as many as 53% of people in this demographic often feel lonely.

The good news is that this same study details a number of different ways to combat loneliness that you might want to consider – rather than simply looking to return to work as a solution to any loneliness you may be feeling. On top of this, we have another helpful blog post that offers advice on how to make friends and develop new relationships in retirement, which again are other approaches to consider instead of returning to work.

Ultimately, the choice is yours, but be sure to weigh up some of the pros and cons we have listed to fully inform your decision.

Related Articles


VE Day 75

On 8th May, 75 years ago, the guns fell silent marking the end of the war in Europe. Millions of people took to the streets to celebrate peace and remember their loved ones.  ...Read more


Hurry to Surrey

A small commute south of London but a million miles from the hustle and bustle of the capital sits rolling countryside, vast woodlands and quaint English villages ...Read more


Beautiful Bistros

Our in-house catering team have been working behind the scenes to bring new services into our Retirement Living PLUS developments for our customers to enjoy ...Read more


Couple Forge New Friendships in Retirement

Leslie and Ann Harpin, 87 and 81 recently made the decision to move to McCarthy and Stone’s Isabella House Retirement Living development in Hertford. The couple are not only enjoying spending more time together, they also have a new group of friends who they refer to as their extended family.  ...Read more


Your Resale Questions Answered

McCarthy & Stone’s Resales Director, David Gabriel has over 20 years’ experience selling preowned retirement properties and heads up our dedicated in-house resales service. ...Read more


Your Retirement Move is Safe in Our Hands 

The loss of a loved one is such an emotional experience for the family without the added stress of them being faced with selling their home. But if you need to sell your property, McCarthy & Stone Resales can take care of everything. ...Read more


McCarthy and Stone Resales Success

McCarthy & Stone Resales is having a positive impact when it comes to supporting those who wish to resell their retirement properties, as well as helping new customers experience what a retirement living lifestyle is all about. ...Read more


Tuning in To Singing in Later Life 

A singing group comprised of retirees from McCarthy & Stone’s Chinnerys Court Retirement Living development in Braintree, is showing how singing lifts the spirits and can be good for your health.  ...Read more


A Tale of Happily Ever After

Good communication, consideration for each other and never going to bed without making up – are the secrets to a long, loving and successful marriage, says homeowners Mr and Mrs Bowhill. ...Read more


£130,000 and Counting

Thanks to your generosity, we have smashed our target for this year’s charity partner Beanstalk. Here's a round up of some of the activities we have been getting up to across the UK. ...Read more


Our Ultimate Christmas Recipes 

We've spoken to our Catering Manager who provides us with his ultimate Christmas recipes for you to try this season. They’re great for putting you in the Christmas spirit, and your friends and family members will love them. ...Read more


Christmas Events – Roundup

We’re hosting a series of ‘At Home’ Christmas events for our residents and their families. Find out more about what’s happening in our roundup blog post.  ...Read more


DIY Christmas Gifts you Still Have Time to Make 

With the countdown to Christmas now on, it’s time to start thinking about Christmas gifts. There are those people who buy and wrap everything by October, and then there’s the rest of us, who possibly leave things till the last minute. Well, why not get organised this year? ...Read more


Christmas Decorating Tips 

To help make your home full of Christmas cheer, we’ve spoken to Clare Gibson, Head of Interior Design at McCarthy & Stone who’s provided her top Christmas decorating tips. ...Read more


Tips for Successfully Downsizing

Many people find that later in life that their home is far bigger than they need. Downsizing can bring a variety of benefits, including both financial and practical ones. That said, it can often be an emotional or difficult time.  ...Read more


Remarkable UK Gardens for Autumn Colour 

Another season has flown by and now the summer heat has faded with the turn of autumn. With the cooler days and longer nights, our gardens are transforming into a rich tapestry of colour, from fiery reds and oranges to majestic golds. ...Read more


Caring for House Plants 

From succulents to spider plants, the demand for indoor foliage is showing no signs of slowing down. No matter what the season, low maintenance house plants are ideal for brightening up the look and feel of a room. ...Read more


Foraging Favourites

For many people, collecting and eating wild plants and fungi has been part of life since childhood, filling punnets with wild edibles from ripening berries to sweet chestnuts. ...Read more


Spotlight on York

A city of extraordinary cultural and historical wealth woven into  every  brick and beam, York seeps history at every turn. ...Read more


Summer Events in 2019 To Look Out For

The summer season is packed with a variety of events to appeal to a range of interests and ages. Savour the delights of new and exciting cuisine, enjoy the thrill of world-class horse racing and discover the latest super cars, at events taking place across the summer months.  ...Read more


It's All Greek To Us

Sparkling white beaches, deep blue seas, sugar-cube villages and venerable ancient sites make the
Greek islands an idyllic holiday destination for many. Tourists can immerse in the Greek cuisine,
century-old sites and local culture each island has to offer, while enjoy luxurious accommodation
and the locals’ warm and welcoming hospitality. ...Read more


Fishing for Fun

Looking for an exhilarating and challenging activity that brings a sense of serenity and calmness? We think we’ve found the perfect catch. ...Read more


It’s time to start living life to the full again

A McCarthy & Stone Retirement Living Plus apartment is about getting more from life for the over 70s. It’s the perfect combination really - company when you want it, help when you could use it, care when you need it. And all in the comfort of your own stylish new home. ...Read more


Staying Cool and Well During A Heatwave

Although warmer weather can be a welcome sight for many, the increased temperatures can lead to
added risks for some, particularly those with health issues or those that are more vulnerable. Stay well with these tips.  ...Read more


The History of Father's Day

Father’s Day is the perfect time to thank fathers and father figures for their help and support. In this post, McCarthy & Stone look at the history of Father’s Day. ...Read more


A New Adventure 

Colin and Pat Mackay are looking forward to making the most of their retirement following their move to North Berwick.

...Read more


The Benefits of Downsizing in Retirement

There are many benefits of downsizing and if this is something you are considering, here, we share our knowledge about downsizing, and explain why it could be one of the best things you can do for your retirement.   ...Read more


Blooming Marvellous: The Chelsea Flower Show

The world-famous RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s the most glamorous day out in the gardening calendar.

The grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea are once again blooming with flora as the Royal Horticultural Society prepares to welcome 157,000 spectators to their annual five-day flower festival in May. ...Read more


How To Manage Your Diet In Retirement

There are many extra demands placed on our bodies as we progress through life and because of this our nutritional needs also change as a result. It is never too late to revamp your nutrition and nurture your body with a healthier diet.   ...Read more


Tackling loneliness among older people with Pen Pals

We understand the problem of loneliness amongst older people and we want to do something to combat it. That’s why we have created our latest Pen Pals programme, an outlet to connect older people with other older people in communities by the writing and exchanging of letters. Click to find out more. ...Read more


How To Make New Friends In Retirement

Friendship is hugely important at every stage in life, and retirement is no exception. What’s more, in retirement you could make the most of the extra free time you have to discover different experiences and meet new people – leading to new friendships and relationships.  ...Read more


Sheffield – The Steel Centre of the World

Famed for its industry and innovation, the green, modern cityscape now replaces the smoking chimneys from the industrial revolution. There’s a friendly, independent and alternative spirit that can be hard to find in other cities alongside a thriving cultural scene. ...Read more


Wally & The Flying Scotsman

Popular North Gate Court customer Wally Blazey moved into their McCarthy & Stone apartment with his wife Gladys seven months ago, and the couple have just celebrated their 72nd anniversary. At 92, Wally is one of the two last surviving drivers of the Flying Scotsman, the most famous steam locomotive in the world. ...Read more


The Top 11 British Hidden Gems

Where are the best locations in the UK to visit... that you've probably not heard of? We've ranked the best hidden gems around Britain, that are easy to access, and offer a great weekend away with the family. ...Read more


Do Pets Make You Happier?

Whether you're a pet owner or have a pet free home, animals of all kinds have been proven to improve the happiness of their human counterparts. To find out more McCarthy & Stone conducted a survey to see how pets enrich their owners lives. Here are the results! ...Read more