Most wealthy workers want to work beyond retirement

The majority (60%) of wealthy workers in the UK want to carry on working as long as they are able, instead of having a conventional retirement, research suggests.

With life expectancy continuing to rise, retirement in its current form has become unsustainable for both governments and individuals worldwide, says the report by Barclays Wealth.

The Government plans to scrap the default retirement age of 65 from October 2011 and transitional arrangements will be put in place from 6 April 2011.

Internationally, 14% of those who had already retired believed that reaching the normal retirement age was a “very important” reason behind their decision.

Seven out of 10 wealthy workers under the age of 45 envisaged themselves being involved in commercial or professional work of some kind whatever their age, compared to 50% of those aged over 65.

Sarah Harper, professor of gerontology and director of the Oxford Institute of Ageing, said: “Over the last decade or so, everybody has started to wake up to the fact they’re not going to retire as our parents or grandparents did, and then have 30 years fully paid leisure with a high standard of living.”

However, David Lain, research officer at Brighton Business School, commented that while wealthy workers have a high degree of control over their working lives, poorer workers do not.

He added: “It is much harder for the poorest to compete in the labour market in older age. They lack the levels of education and health of the richest and have often had more precarious employment in the past.”

The report surveyed more than 2,000 individuals from 20 countries around the world, all of whom had more than £1 million in investable assets.

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