The number of people retiring before age 65 has increased by more than 55,000 in the last four months, suggesting Covid-19 may be driving a rise in early retirement.
Figures from the Office for National Statistics published today show those who label themselves as “retired” before the age of 65 has increased by 55,311 in the last four months, comparing March to May 2020 with November 2019 to January 2020 data.
The increase is the biggest four month rise since the pension freedoms were introduced in 2015 and the default retirement age was made illegal back in 2010.
Aviva head of savings & retirement Alistair McQueen says: “A closer examination of today’s employment figures suggests the coronavirus pandemic, and lockdown, could be driving an increase in the number of people retiring before the age of 65.
“Today, 1.17 million people define themselves as retired before the age of 65, up from a record low of 1.09 million in January 2019.
“The employment market is obviously being severely challenged as a result of the pandemic, but we should also not lose sight of the importance of a fuller working life. This rising trend in “early retirement” comes at a time when we should be supporting a fuller working life, for those who want it.
“Work is one of the most powerful ways of funding our longer lives. Yet, we continue to see a collapse in employment participation as people progress through their fifties. Any acceleration of this collapse would be bad for the UK economy, and would represent a huge loss of skill, experience and potential.”