20% of tradespeople believe they’ll need to work beyond state pension age

20% of tradespeople believe they’ll need to work beyond state pension age

A fifth of UK tradespeople think they will have to keep working beyond the state pension age of 66, new research has revealed.

The study, conducted by IronmongeryDirect, surveyed 500 tradespeople about their plans for retirement and found that a large proportion are pessimistic about their chances of finishing work when they hope to.

10% say that they will definitely have to continue working for longer than they’d like and 25% think it’s a possibility.

This is most common amongst tradesmen, who are nearly three times as likely as tradeswomen to think that they’ll have to work past the age of 66 (29% vs 10%). Furthermore, 7% of men see themselves working beyond 70, compared to just 2% of women.

Even those approaching typical retirement age aren’t sure whether they will be able to hang up their tools when they want. 36% of tradespeople aged between 55 and 64 say that they might have to carry on working longer than they intend.

Worryingly, 13% of workers in this age category have no financial plans for retirement. Less than half of 55 to 64-year olds have a personal (49%) or workplace (46%) pension, despite being in the twilight of their careers.

This is in stark contrast to younger tradies, who appear to be preparing far earlier for retirement than their older colleagues did. In fact, 18 to 24-year olds are the most likely to have some form of financial plan for their post-work lives, with almost three-quarters (73%) having a personal pension.

Furthermore, millennials put away the most money each month towards their future. While the average UK tradesperson saves £390 a month, millennial workers keep back £509 for their retirement fund.

This also varies by trade, with plumbers (£451) putting away the most each month.

Some trades are also more likely to have to delay retirement than others. Painters and decorators are the most likely to work beyond state pension age, with 30% feeling that they won’t be able to retire until after 66. They are closely followed by electricians (29%) and landscapers (25%).

In contrast, bricklayers are the most confident that they’ll retire early, with 94% believing they’ll finish working before they reach 66. On average, brickies think they’ll retire at the youthful age of 56 and they are the most likely trade to think that they’ll be able to step down when they want (89%).

However, it is builders who are most likely to retire before they reach 50, with 12% believing they’ll have finished working by this milestone.

George Stainton, Senior Wealth Manager at Hoxton Capital Management, has shared this advice about planning for retirement:

  • Get into the habit of saving for retirement early in your career, as it will make life much more comfortable as you get older
  • Ensure you contribute to your full 35 years of National Insurance so you are entitled to a full state pension
  • If appropriate, consider delaying your retirement for a couple of years to have enhanced pension income and further compounded investment growth

Dominick Sandford, Director and Head of Merchandising & Marketing at IronmongeryDirect, said: “There comes a time when everyone has to think about life after work and it’s encouraging to see that so many young tradespeople are already putting money aside for their future.

“However, it’s concerning that many older workers have few or no financial plans for retirement. There are lots of ways that people can prepare, regardless of how old you are, so we’ve partnered with experts to share helpful tips for tradespeople on how to boost your finances for the future.”

For more expert advice on how to prepare for retirement, visit

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