Pension Release over 50

It used to be the case you could only take advantage of pension release over 50 however, from 6 April 2010 the minimum age is now 55. That is unless you were in certain careers, such as a professional footballer, as they were given special permission to access their pensions earlier.

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The reason for this was that pension release over 50 was applicable to people under normal career circumstances i.e. they were going to work until a normal retirement age of 65. Footballers retire much earlier than 65 so it was considered appropriate to give them earlier access than pension release over 50 to compensate them. I think this rule must have been put into place a long time before the excessive wages that footballers can now earn.

Bobby Charlton for example; certainly considered a top world class footballer of his time. I am reliable informed his wages would have been similar to say a bank manager, therefore to only allow pension unlocking over 50 seems entirely inappropriate as Bobby certainly wouldn’t be able to work as a professional footballer for the same working career as a bank manager.

These days’ footballers are paid more similarly to a hedge fund manager than a bank manager. That means they have such a massive income that I would suspect access to any kind of pension early, let alone pension release over 50, would have any bearing on them at all. If they stop work they could just sell one of their houses or other type of investments. Given their earnings I suspect pensions are just a small part of their overall assets for retirement, whereas for Bobby it was probably their only asset.

Having said all of this, pension release over 50 no longer applies. That is because the minimum age you are able to access a pension early has increased to 55. This took place from 6 April 2010. Why pension release over 50 has moved is a little unclear. The likely justification is that all of us are probably going to have to work longer than age 65 – improvements in health and a desire to have more money go some way towards explaining why.

However, given the big scheme of things, the amount of people that actually require pension release over 50 is miniscule and because they should only do it anyway because they have no other choice, it seems a shame to remove a valuable benefit from the small number of individuals who needed it. After all, pension release over 50 is only used by those who need from their own money!