Clearly it's a big decision and one that we will all need to think about long and hard, based on a number of factors. Once we have made that decision and we have decided that we will retire at a certain age, then planning and preparing for retirement then become very important. But that's getting ahead of the purpose of this section, which is to provide some help and information on the decision-making process.
What is the Retirement Age?
With the demise of the default retirement age being such a new idea (indeed, it didn't become legally operational until the 1st October 2011) many people are understandably confused. The situation, as described above, is that employers can no longer force someone to retire at age 65, or any other age, purely on the grounds of age. Therefore, if you are able to do the job satisfactorily, you may retire at any age you wish. There are exceptions and organisations may apply to have an 'Employer Justified Retirement Age (EJRA) but if your organisation has an EJRA they will have told you. So the answer to the question, 'What is the Retirement Age?' is, 'There isn't one.'
However, there is an answer to the question, 'What is the Pension Age?' In terms of an organisational pension, there will be a normal age at which you can take your company pension. Your Pension or HR Department will be able to tell you what that age is and what the rules around it are. The minimum age at which you may take a company pension is 55. For a personal pension, you may specify to your pension provider at what age you wish to take your pension.
The State Pension age is currently 65 for men. Between December 2018 and April 2020 it will rise to 66. For women born after the 5th April 1950 it is currently rising from 60 to 65. This rise began on the 6th April 2010 and will continue until the November 2018. From December 2018 to April 2020 it will rise to 66, in line with the men's age. For more information on this and for a link to the Pension Calculator, which you can use to see exactly when you will qualify for your state pension, go to Direct Gov - State Pensions Calculator
Before we can start to address the issues of planning and preparing for retirement, we need to ask ourselves a fundamental question: