King Charles III is starting his dream job in his 70s, and he’s not the only one

The King isn’t just ‘still working’ at 74 – he’s just embarked on the most important role of his life. And he’s not alone. If you’re still career-focused in your 60s or 70s, it’s worth considering how to make the best use of your income in order to ensure a comfortable retirement when the time does come.


You might be forgiven for thinking people in their 60s and 70s are starting to wind down. But from what we’re seeing, this stereotype is quickly becoming obsolete. Indeed, there’s a growing trend for people at this stage in their life to continue working – or even retrain or start a new business venture.

Following his ascension to the throne last autumn and coronation in May, His Majesty King Charles III is starting his dream job after decades of playing understudy to his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. While his story is undoubtedly unique, it’s further proof of the trend that the previously accepted retirement age is not the cut-off point it once was.

A new approach to retirement

When the King hit state pension age (in theory) in his sixties, he arguably took on more responsibility. After a life of loyal service to the Crown, he began to take the Queen’s place in public engagements. In 2010, he took part in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in India and, in 2013, he represented the Queen at a Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka.

Indeed, like the King, it’s increasingly likely that those reaching pension age will continue working for years or even decades to come. Retirement used to be a cliff-edge event that took place when you reached state pension age. But, for a growing number of people, this is no longer the case. The default retirement age of 65 was scrapped in 2011, and people can stay in employment as long as they are able to (as has always been the case for the self-employed).

The perks of working longer

Amid the current cost of living crisis, it’s obvious that some later-life workers will be doing so out of necessity. But we’d be doing budding entrepreneurs a huge disservice if we present the number of older people in the workplace as a bad thing.

Some people will continue to enjoy the career they have been in for years and see no reason to stop; others may relish the chance to try something new. It might even be the perfect time to monetise a hobby or start a new business.

What’s more, carrying on earning gives us more financial resilience and independence. The longer you work, the longer you can hold off taking your pension – a deferred pension has more time to potentially grow and, depending on your income, you can also keep making contributions. And, when you do start taking your pension, your savings won’t need to last as long, either. Indeed, you may also find it makes sense to defer your state pension in return for a higher income later on.

With life expectancy continuing to rise – a man aged 65 now can expect to live for another 18.5 years on average, while a 65-year-old woman typically has 21 years ahead of her1 – there’s a lot to be said for keeping the money coming in as long as you can.

The importance of planning

So, whether you’ve got decades before you retire or just a few years, it’s important to plan ahead for a comfortable standard of living once you’ve finished working.

Firstly, work out what you want from the next few years. Whether or not you give up work entirely in retirement, you may wish to review how you spend your time and what you want from life.

Secondly, build your circle of support. The King isn’t alone in being able to turn to specialist advisers for financial, legal and other matters. A financial adviser, for example, can help you work out just how much money you’ll need to make your retirement what you want it to be. They can map out your plans, review them as the years pass, make changes when necessary and ensure you don’t run out of money.

So, if you’re continuing to pursue your career or are starting a new chapter in later life, talk to us about retirement planning today!

The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.


1 National Life Tables – Life Expectancy in the UK: 2018-2020, Office for National Statistics, September 2021

SJP Approved: 08/06/2023