middle-aged people risk ruin as pensions run out

Stuart Lewis of Rest Less, an online community for the over 50s, said: “The mass exodus of middle-aged people is in full swing. There are thousands of people who have given up and left the workforce involuntarily after struggling for months or years to find their next job. They feel excluded and left behind. This comes as we experience one of the worst cost of living crises in decades.

Deborah Lewis, 60, from Wigan, has been out of work since May last year and has been forced to dip into her pension despite not being ready to retire. She applied several times for relevant jobs but was not even shortlisted, she said.

“I lost a lot of confidence and started to question my own abilities. It’s really disheartening. It’s horrible to be unemployed for 10 months. I always got a role very quickly in the past, but now I’m not even getting an interview,” she added.

Rising energy, food and fuel prices left Ms Lewis with no choice but to spend her pension. “I feel like I’m being pushed into retirement. I still have so much to offer. I’m not ready to retire,” she said. “My retirement may seem like an easy solution, but I don’t have a partner and it has to last.

According to a study by Just Group, a retirement company, only one in five people over the age of 55 who still want to work are confident that they will be able to find gainful employment.

Jenny Chapman, 61, from London, said she lost her job at work leaving her with no choice but to retire last September.

The former teacher said she was pushed out of her senior job for a lower-paying job which would have affected her final salary pension if she had taken it. “It was because I was an older woman. I have seen time and time again, through my friends and family, that corporations make life harder for older people. Discrimination on the basis of age is absolutely prevalent,” she said.

Since leaving that job, Ms. Chapman has had to supplement her income with tutoring. She also provides financial support for her two children, who are at university. “When my kids applied to college, I assumed I would still be working for years,” she said.

Maria D. Ervin