Published On: Mon, Jan 8th, 2024

State pension age ‘to hit 74 for everyone’ – so why won’t they tell us the truth? | Personal Finance | Finance

The age at which we can expect to retire should be clear cut, but instead it’s shrouded in confusion and getting more complicated by the day. Nobody understands it anymore.

I went out for a drink with friends last night and they started talking about when they would be able to retire.

Not one of us could name the date when we would start collecting our state pension. Including me, embarrassingly.

I knew when I was in my 20s and 30s, and retirement was a distant prospect. Last night, I couldn’t stick a fork in this moveable feast. So I’m trying today.

In 2005, the Pensions Commission recommended increasing the state pension age to match rising life expectancy.

The Pensions Act 2007 legislated to increase state pension age for both men and women to age 66 between 2024 and 2026.

Next, The Pensions Act 2011 accelerated the timetable.

Then increase to 66 was brought forward to between 2018 and 2020. That one’s done and dusted now.

The state pension age was then supposed to climb to 67 between 2034 and 2036.

The Pensions Act 2014 brought forward the timetable to between 2026 and 2028.

That’s less than two years away and nothing can stop it. Thereafter, things get really confusing.

The Pensions Act 2014 legislated for a periodic state pension age review, to help keep it fair and affordable as we live longer.

The first review reported in 2017 and suggested the state pension age should rise to 68 between 2037 and 2039.

Yet that isn’t the plan now.

The current “legislated pathway” is for the retirement age to rise to 68 between 2044 and 2046. Unfortunately, that isn’t set in stone either.

In March last year, a policy paper called the State Pension age Review concluded it should rise to 68 between 2041 and 2043 instead.

So now we have three potential dates.

These things matter. It’s already hard enough to persuade people to plan for retirement, especially when they’re young.

It’s even harder if they cannot even put a date on it.

Millions will just tune out. Or build their plans on completely wrong assumptions.

Just look at the Waspi women, who were caught out by moves to hike the state pension age for women in line with men.

Many say they didn’t realise until too late that they would have to work for five or six years longer than expected. They suffered immense hardship as a result and have been fighting for redress ever since.

The Waspi state pension age hike only affected women born in the 1950s. The next wave of hikes will affect hit all future generations.

READ MORE: State pensioners won’t get full amount because NI contributions ‘didn’t count’

People have to know. Under current projections, the state pension age is set to blast to 70 and beyond, according to Gary Smith, retirement specialist at wealth manager Evelyn Partners.

The aim is to keep total state pension costs below six percent of GDP. That will get harder as the nation ages and birth rate falls, leaving fewer workers funding more state pensioners.

Smith says: “This implies a further increase in the state pension age to 69 between 2046 and 2048, followed by successive increases to 74 by 2067.”

Luckily for me and my middle-aged friends, we will have retired by then. However, millions of today’s workers won’t.

So where do they stand? No idea.

The Government said it would report on the findings of the State Pension age Review within two years of the next Parliament.

We all know what that means, don’t we? “It’s been kicked into the long grass,” Smith said.

Politicians desperately want to hike the state pension age, they just don’t want to get the blame for doing it. 

Instead, they’d rather leave us all in the dark. Did I say moveable feast? It’s a complete dog’s dinner and future generations will suffer as a result.

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