UK - During the past decade early retirement has increased dramatically, particularly in the public sector, to the extent that it became an expectation in many organisations.
“As a consequence there was an increase in unused production capacity, a reduced tax base and a heavier load on pensions.
“What are the incentives for early retirement? Research suggests that they include the availability of pensions, higher personal wealth, including home ownership and even the increase in the number of female workers.
“Women’s salaries add to a family’s wealth and can allow men to take early retirement.
“Recession is also a factor. The possibility of unemployment rises and the lower real wages during a recession reduces opportunity cost. A fall in assets during a recession might work in the opposite direction; people postpone retirement when private wealth falls.
“But it’s not just about money. Early retirement depends on the preference for leisure, which increases with higher income and maturity. Early retirement is now more socially acceptable, providing a greater pool of potential companions to share leisure activities with.
“However, early retirement isn’t just about holidays and leisure. More people in their 50s and 60s combine being parents, grandparents and carers of older people than any other age group. Between the ages of 50 and 64, 3.5 million people have a caring role.
“Many people, especially women in their 30s and 40s, can only work because grandparents care for the children.
“As a result of the skills shortages and decreases in pension funds, early retirement is becoming less available and less acceptable. The pendulum may need to swing a little away from early retirement.”
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