Half of older people expect to work to death

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A third of over-50s change career and over half will not stop working.

A survey by HSBC has found that almost a third of people in their 50s have changed career, mainly because of redundancy – and that more than half of older people expect never to give up work entirely.

The survey, of 2,000 people over the age of 50, showed that one third of Britain’s 21 million over-50s had changed career – with the figure rising to 41% among 60- to 70-year-olds.

Many of the respondents who switched careers cited wanting a change of direction in their life or a less stressful job. One example of a career change mentioned in the survey was a teacher who retrained as a florist. Others reported cutting down on their workload – such as a solicitor who now only writes wills.

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Fifty-five percent of those questioned said they did not anticipate stopping working altogether, with the majority citing lack of money as the reason why.

David Wells, head of pensions, savings and investments at HSBC, said: "As the requirement for people to work longer becomes more apparent, it appears that the over-50s are embracing this head-on and pursuing the careers they have always wanted.

"Many, it seems, are doing this to fill a shortfall in retirement income but, equally, many are looking to embrace new skills and challenges that may now only become possible after careful financial planning during their earlier working life."

The survey comes in the same week that the government has announced plans to scrap the default retirement age.

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