Thankfully the days are long gone when people were obliged to stop working when they reached retirement age. In the last 20 years, the number of workers aged over 65 has almost tripled, with nearly 830,0001 more people choosing to stay in employment.

If you’re approaching retirement, the thought of stopping work altogether may not be something you want to do. Reducing your hours or going part time is an ideal way to enjoy the benefits of continuing to work, while leaving you plenty of time to spend with your family, enjoy more time on your hobbies and fit in some travel adventures.

We spoke to 65-year-old Jon about why he chose to continue working part time after he took early retirement, and his insight is invaluable. After working at Barclays for 30 years, Jon now works in a local family-run sports shop in Sevenoaks, which specialises in running equipment.

After his children had graduated from university and he started drawing his personal pension, Jon realised he still wanted to be working, but do something part time that was rewarding and enjoyable.

A keen runner in his spare time, Jon had plenty of enthusiasm and experience to share – and prior to banking he had spent years coaching athletics. He had a lot of skills to offer.

Why would I want to work in retirement?

Many people are choosing to work part time in their retirement for job satisfaction, rather than financial necessity. The structure, routine and sociability of work are also important aspects that people don’t want to lose.

When you’ve spent the majority of your life in employment, suddenly being left without the work routine can be a big change. Reducing your hours can offer you a comfortable transition from working full time to not working at all.

Sometimes, people enjoy what they do so much that they can’t imagine giving it up, so while they don’t necessarily need the money, the mental and physical benefits of continuing their job outweigh the thought of staying at home.

For Jon, changing jobs was “a gradual decision, rather than all of a sudden wanting to work in a running shop.

“It got to the point, as the years progressed, where I didn’t want to keep travelling to the City and working a stressful job, so I looked for something a little less demanding. Something that included more leisure.”

If you’re approaching retirement, Jon recommends planning ahead now.

“If retirement is coming soon, begin to think, ‘How will I wind down?’ Start thinking about what you want to do immediately after retirement, so you don’t end up sitting on the sofa thinking, ‘Oh, now what do I do?’ When I retired from my full-time job I started building a cabinet, because I just thought, ‘Well I’ve got to do something!’ You almost do it out of desperation, because you feel sort of useless if you’re not doing anything. After a while you learn to pace yourself.”

What part-time jobs could I do in retirement?

It’s a great idea to think about this thoroughly, so you can choose a job that will suit you and your needs.

Your current job could offer benefits that might be worth more to you than starting afresh. Many companies seek out people with specific skills, and your significant experience will be valued.

It’s never too late to change jobs and try something a bit different, or even completely new. Maybe there’s a role that you’ve always had an interest in, but you never had the chance to pursue it.

Jon found that working in an area that he had always had an interest in, suited him. He explains that the job in the running shop came about as a bit of luck, though he believes that we do create some of our own luck.

“The job was a result of being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, and understanding what you want. Your enthusiasm will shine through. Your behaviour and outlook tend to suggest to other people what you might be good at, even things you’ve never thought of yourself.

“If I wasn’t working part time, I’d probably be doing some volunteer work, ideally for a local church or charity. One or two of my peers are doing that – they don’t have a part-time job but they have the skills and qualities to help people.”

Whether you’re seeking out a specific job or someone approaches you with an opportunity, Jon thinks your personality, skills, experience and passion will help place you in the right role.

Things to consider when working part time in retirement

You’ll still be liable for income tax, but once you reach State Pension age, you’ll no longer be required to pay National Insurance contributions.

If you’re currently receiving means-tested benefits or Universal Credit, your entitlement could be affected by working beyond retirement.

If you take your state and/or personal pension while working, you may be placed in a higher tax bracket.

1Data taken from The State of Ageing 2022 report from Centre for Ageing Better.