Older people should expect to work longer and draw upon property wealth to help fund care costs, argues a new think-piece by the International Longevity Centre – UK (ILC-UK).

The think-piece is published alongside polling evidence which found that:

  • Just over two-fifths of people agree that because people are living longer and healthier it is right that people work longer before they can claim a state pension by age group.
  • Those who agree that retirees play no part in the economic prosperity of the country are in the minority (17%).
  • Just over two-fifths (42%) of the population think that as a society, we overestimate the impact of an ageing society.
  • Almost two-fifths of adults think that the UK’s ageing population is a threat to our economic competitiveness with other nations (38%).

Retirement in flux, Changing perceptions of retirement and later life, argues that:

  • Older citizens have a responsibility to remain in the labour market, where possible, to enable skills retention and minimise the fiscal burdens on taxpayers. But alongside this, older people should have a right to support from employers, and society more generally, to enable longer working lives.
  • Older people should have a right to remain in their own home. It is vital for the well-being of many older care recipients. But it is fair that older people draw upon their property wealth to help fund care costs
  • Whilst the idea of an obligation to volunteer is contradictory. We all have a responsibility to remain active in our communities. Many older people are eager to volunteer in later life as part of an active retirement and opportunities to volunteer must therefore be appropriate: flexible, enjoyable, and oriented towards utilising the skills older people have developed during their working life.

Launching Retirement in Flux, Baroness Sally Greengross, Chief Executive at ILC-UK said:
"Increasing longevity has meant that the vast majority of people retiring today have developed expectations of at least twenty years in retirement. This expectation is simply not economically or socially sustainable.  Our message for older people should be the same as the one we are giving to younger people. ‘Our economy and society need you’."

David Sinclair, Assistant Director, Policy and Communications, at ILC-UK added:
"We need to abandon the idea that people make contributions in their working life in return for support in retirement. Such an approach implies that retirement marks the point where older people’s contributions are no longer necessary or valuable.  We need a new approach to old age and retirement, one which sees us all as citizens with rights and responsibilities."

In the think-piece, ILC-UK urges the Government to ensure that any future ageing strategy incorporates the need for national “retirement” strategy, which sets out what older people can expect from the state, but also what they should expect to contribute to society.

ILC-UK also call on the Government and employers to introduce policy to facilitate and support the introduction of ‘gradual retirement’ to remove the cliff edge which currently separates work and retirement for many people. Government’s financial incentive structure must also be geared towards encouraging gradual retirement.



Retirement in flux, Changing perceptions of retirement and later life has been produced with the support of Swiss Re. It will be available on the ILC-UK website on Monday 14th May 2012

Polling statistics were taken from the report, ‘Population Ageing: Pomp or Circumstance’ which was funded by an unconditional grant from Alliance Boots and is available to download from the ILC-UK website at: Population Ageing: Pomp or Circumstance

In March 2012, almost 1000 adults were surveyed by GfK-NOP on three interrelated topics around healthy ageing and personal responsibility for health, older people and working longer, as well as general perceptions around an ageing society.

Retirement in flux will be available on the ILC-UK website on Monday 14th May 2012 (Retirement in flux: Changing perceptions of retirement and later life)

Contact David Sinclair 02073400440 or


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