Jennifer took part in our recent survey about older workers and the cost of living crisis. She’s one of many people who may need to postpone retirement to make ends meet.
The cost-of-living crisis is having a huge impact on older workers, Workingwise.co.uk’s latest annual survey showed. In our survey, published late last year, 30% of older workers said they no longer had enough income to cover basic living costs. Almost half (46%) said they would have to change their retirement plans to cover rising bills.
Here is Jennifer’s story – she is one of many older workers who thinks she will need to postpone her retirement to cover her living costs.
“I’m budgeting as much as I can…I’m scouring the bargain shelves [at the supermarket],” says Jennifer, a full-time library assistant in the east of England.
Jennifer, who is 53 and lives alone, has been struggling more and more to cover basic costs over the past year. Her mortgage payments have gone up twice over the last three months and her electricity bills are high too. She uses her heating as little as possible and she’s cancelled her streaming services for TV shows, spending time scrolling on social media instead. Her diet has become less healthy, because she’s buying less fruit to save money.
“I’m desperately trying to look for a second job just to tide me over,” says Jennifer, who has been in library assistant roles since she was 17, only taking a break to go to university. “I’ve not felt this way ever. It’s quite a shock to the system.”
Jennifer is partly struggling to find a weekend job because all of her professional experience is in library roles. She has had a few interviews for retail jobs but without success. At one interview, many of the other candidates were older workers too and she realised that her predicament was not unusual.
“I’m desperately trying to look for a second job just to tide me over.”
Jennifer had planned to retire at 55, but she increasingly thinks that she’ll need to work until 60. She might even need to work part-time after she turns 60.
“It’s frustrating. I try not to be negative about it, but it was kind of a reward for me to be able to retire at 55, having worked since I was 17 – and having worked even prior to that, with jobs paid in cash and what have you. I thought I could treat myself and look after myself a little bit from 55 onwards.”
At least, she says, she has had a private pension since she was 17. She worries about younger people who opt out of pensions.
Workingwise.co.uk’s annual survey of over 2,000 older workers was sponsored by Santander Consumer Finance. The survey was part of our National Older Workers Week.