When Can I Retire (UK)?

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Last Updated on November 30, 2020 by Emma @ Making and Saving Money


The age that you can retire depends on your expenses and the income that you have coming into your household outside of your job. Some people put themselves in a financial situation that enables them to retire in their 20s, while others never stop working.

Let’s walk through the steps to calculate when you are on track to retire.

This post may contain affiliate links. If you decide to use them, my blog may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you, which helps to fund more helpful articles for you to enjoy. Find out more in my Affiliate Disclosure. Nothing in this article constitutes financial, or other, advice. These are my views and the results of years of research, testing and learning. When you’re investing, the value of your investments can increase and decrease so you may end up receiving less than you invested.

What is the state pension age in the UK?

The state pension age in the UK is currently under review because people have a longer life expectancy, and it’s becoming more expensive for Government services to fund a proportion of the population’s retirement income.

The state pension age for men and women who are retiring now is 66, but it’s due to increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028. You can get a more accurate indication of your state pension retirement age by checking out the Government’s state pension age website. You can also check your state pension forecast for an indication of how much the state pension will pay you by the time you claim it.

The current state pension is £175.20 a week, which equates to £9,110.40 a year. The exact amount you’ll receive depends on the amount of national insurance contributions you have made over the years. Most people find that the state pension is insufficient to live on, so they pay into workplace pensions or private pensions to boost their retirement income.

Retired couple in the UK

How can I calculate my retirement age?

You can calculate when you will reach the state pension age on the Government state pension age website.

If you have a workplace pension or a private pension, check your documentation, or consult a financial adviser, to understand when it allows you to retire, and what impact different retirement ages could have on your pension income. Typically, the sooner you start drawing down a workplace pension, the lower your pension income will be because it has fewer years to grow. There are exceptions, for example, final salary pension schemes (also known as a defined benefit pension) pay out a set percentage of your last working salary from a specified age. Final salary pension schemes are becoming increasingly rare as life expectancy is increasing.

If you have a mixture of pension income and investments, such as index funds, you can use a retirement calculator to estimate the retirement age that best suits you. The calculations should consider your current retirement investing strategy and the lifestyle that you want to have in later life. Some of the most helpful retirement calculators include:

What is the retirement age on a workplace pension?

Your employer must offer a workplace pension to any employees who meet the following criteria:

  • Over the age of 22 but under the state pension retirement age
  • Earn £10,000 a year or more
  • Work in the UK.

The retirement age on a pension from your employer typically starts around 55 years. However, the Government is likely to make changes to this, possibly increasing it to age 57 from 2028. The rules are likely to change because we are living longer, which is putting a strain on retirement funding.

If you don’t qualify for a pension with your employer, then you could set up a private pension with the support of a financial adviser.

Retired man

Why do some people not qualify for a full state pension?

Some people only qualify for a partial state pension if they did not make the full national insurance contributions while they were working. For example, if they joined a ‘contracting out’ scheme that enabled them to invest more into a private pension.

Other people might have missed national insurance contributions if they had some years not working a job. In some cases, men and women have the opportunity to pay the difference in national insurance and then qualify for the full state pension.

What if I want to retire early?

You could get the option to retire earlier if you invest enough money to pay for the lifestyle that you want to have in retirement, in a form that is accessible for you at the age you want to stop working. For example, many people in the FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) community retire as early as their 20s and 30s by maximising the amount of money they can invest, through increasing their incomes, reducing their expenses and sometimes living a more frugal lifestyle in retirement. You can read more in our article: What is the FIRE Financial Movement?

To find out more details about how much money you need to retire, you can read How Much Do I Need to Have Saved For Retirement?

When do I qualify for free bus travel?

You qualify for free bus travel in the following situations:

  • From the age of 60 if you live in Wales
  • From the age of 60 if you live in London, but only for travel within London
  • From a female’s state retirement age if you live in England, even if you are a man.

You can take action to apply for a free bus pass or find out when you will qualify on the Government’s bus pass website page.

What other financial support do retired citizens receive in the UK?

Retired individuals in the UK may qualify for a range of support, including:

  • Pension Credit – an income-related tax-free benefit that tops up certain people’s pensions
  • Winter fuel payment – support for energy bills
  • Housing benefit for retired individuals and couples who rent
  • Council tax reduction
  • Free TV licence.


Where can I get help with a question about my pension?

Numerous organisations and individuals can give you information and advice about your financial situation, including:

If you enjoyed this article, you might also like:

How Much Do I Need to Have Saved For Retirement?

What is the FIRE Financial Movement?

‘When Can I Retire’ Calculator

2 thoughts on “When Can I Retire (UK)?”

  1. A very good article Emma which provides an understandable explanation to what can be a very confusing subject
    My only advice is before retirement try and maximise your contributions into AVC’s
    I admit that the rules will have changed on these but they used to get good value for money
    If you have savings then you can probably invest in a property and get a far better return than you can currently obtain from savings only giving 0.3 to 0.7% interest
    However do you want the hassle of maintaining a second property and the risk of bad Tennants? Our friends used to rent a couple of properties and had constant problems and big bills which you can do without as you get older
    The only thing to remember about retirement is plan plan and plan again well in advance

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences, Frank; you’ve made lots of great points. Pension rules can be quite complicated and as you say, they do change over time, so it’s best for people to get some qualified financial advice based on their personal circumstances.


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