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State Pension age timetable explained – when can you retire?

Retirement age timetable explained

Written by Retirement Line Updated: 30th January 2024

The current State Pension age is 66 years old for both men and women. However, it will rise to 67 starting in 2026, with further increases to follow in the years ahead.

The days of men retiring at 65 and women at 60 are long gone. Things are more complicated nowadays, with a timetable in place for rolling out changes to the age at which people become eligible for the UK State Pension.

To help you understand what’s happening, we’ve put together this guide to the State Pension age timetable. We start with a look at the difference between retirement age and State Pension age. Then we clarify the upcoming changes to the State Pension age, with a link to the government’s UK retirement age calculator.

On this page:

  • Is there a standard retirement age?

  • Is the State Pension age different to the retirement age?

  • The current Stage Pension age timetable

  • When will you reach State Pension age?

  • Controversy over the move to retirement for everyone at age 68

  • How much is the state pension?

  • State pension forecast – how much will you get?

  • Could you boost your State Pension with an annuity?

Is there a standard retirement age?

Most people’s retirement age is typically linked to the age at which they have enough non-salary income to live on. That will of course differ greatly across the population, so there really is no standard retirement age.

In the UK, according to the Office of National Statistics, the average ‘age of exit from the labour market’ in 2022 was 65.4 years for men and 64.3 for women. 

But of course, you are free to retire whenever you wish. Thousands of people retire much earlier than the average age each year.  You can even retire at age 18 if you are lucky enough to have the means to live without working for the rest of your life!

What is the retirement age?

(Average UK retirement age - 2022 data)

 

  Average retirement age UK – for females  

 

  64.3 years  

 

  Average retirement age UK – for males 

 

  65.4 years  

Is the State Pension age different to the retirement age?

There is no particular reason why your retirement age should be the same as your State Pension age. It’s entirely a matter of choice, driven of course in most cases by someone’s financial circumstances.

People’s retirement age has traditionally been the age at which someone is eligible for the State Pension. However, many people are able to retire sooner. Others decide to go on working well after they qualify for their State Pension.

The current State Pension age timetable

Traditionally, the State Pension ages for men and women were different, but the government has brought them in line with each other. By November 2018, the State Pension age for women had increased so that it matched the age for men at 65 years.

More changes followed, reaching 66 by 2020, and set to reach 67 between 2026 and 2028. Further plans were to extend the age to 68 between 2044 and 2046.

However, the government’s policy paper ‘State Pension age Review 2023’ stated that: “We plan to have a further review within two years of the next Parliament to consider age 68. This will ensure that the government is able to consider the latest information…” 

It continued: “The current rules for the rise from 67 to 68 therefore remain appropriate and the government does not intend to change the existing legislation prior to the conclusion of the next review.”

To sum up then, the State Pension age timetable below will remain unchanged for the time being. However, it is likely that the government of the day will review it following the next general election (which will be no later than January 2025). 

That could mean that the change from 67 to 68 is earlier than planned. However, the present Conservative government says that it remains committed to the principle of providing ten years’ notice of changes to the State Pension age.

  Current State Pension Age Timetable  

 

  Change in State Pension age  

 

  Scheduled date range

 

  Increase from 66 to 67

 

  Between April 2026 and April 2028  

 

  Increase from 67 to 68

 

  Between April 2044 and April 2046  

When will you reach State Pension age?

A handy State Pension age calculator is available on the government website. You can use it to check when you’ll reach State Pension age, and when you’ll qualify for Pension Credit and free bus travel. You can visit the calculator at gov.uk/state-pension-age.

But please bear in mind that the State Pension age will be reviewed again, with further changes likely. In fact, some experts warn that the age could rise to 70 and beyond.

For example, a This is Money article by Jessica Beard says: “A further increase to the age of 69 is already projected to happen between 2046 and 2048. This means those born in 1977, aged 46 today, could be the first to face a longer wait.”

She also reports on analysis by Alice Guy of Interactive Investor that found a 40-year-old is likely to have to wait until they are 70 before receiving the State Pension.

Controversy over the move to retirement for everyone at age 68

It is claimed that extending the age to 68 earlier than planned will save £74billion by 2046/47. David Gauke, when Secretary of State for Work and Pensions said that the move was: “Responsible action in response to growing demographic and fiscal pressures.”

Criticism of the move hasn’t been limited to Labour and trade unions. Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon, said the timing of the announcement was ironic, coming “days after statistics show improvements in life expectancy may be levelling off”.

He said that a blanket increase in the State Pension age is “particularly concerning for those who through health concerns, job pressures or lack of employment opportunity simply can’t keep working into their late 60s”.

However, David Gauke said: “As life expectancy continues to rise and the number of people in receipt of State Pension increases, we need to ensure that we have a fair and sustainable system that is reflective of modern life and protected for future generations.” He also pointed out that the decision is in line with a proposal from the review carried out by John Cridland, published in March 2017.

How much is the state pension?

The new State Pension is paid to those who reached the State Pension age after it was introduced on 6 April 2016. Currently the new State Pension pays up to £203.85 per week. 

You might receive more than this if you have over a certain amount of Additional State Pension, or if you defer (delay) your State Pension. You might receive less than this if you do not meet the requirement for making between 10 and 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions.

State pension forecast – how much will you get?

Another useful tool provided on the government website is a State Pension forecast checker. Available at https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension, this service will enable you to find out how much State Pension you could get, when you can get it and how to increase it (if you can).

Could you boost your State Pension with an annuity?

If you have been saving into certain types of personal or workplace pensions, you may be able to turn your savings into a regular income with an annuity. With annuity providers offering some of the best annuity rates for years, you might be able to enjoy more income than you realise.

At Retirement Line, our Annuity Specialists can compare the best annuity rates from leading annuity providers. You could also benefit from the preferential rates we secure due to our position as the UK’s number one annuity broker* and our close relationships with the UK’s best annuity providers. 

Why not get a free no-obligation annuity quote? Or to speak with an Annuity Specialist directly, you can call us on 0800 652 1316, request a call back or email us at info@retirementline.co.uk. 

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