Retirement and me: How woman with ‘low’ pension and state pension tops up income by £230

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From health conditions to family circumstances, retirement can vary from person to person in a big way. Retirement and me is the series which shines a spotlight on how different people are spending their time and money as they approach and enter this time of life. This week, Jan shared her story exclusively with Express.co.uk.

“I didn’t want to go into management, because I had another life as a writer.

“The two things operated side by side but if I’d gone into management I’d have had to be caught up with targets and finances and managing people. I wouldn’t have managed to have done [the role and her writing career].”

Jan’s flair for writing has seen her publish short stories, as well as write plays. Right now, she’s working on her first novel.

Now 70, she retired and took an actuary reduced teachers’ pension at the age of 56.

“I took early retirement in my late 50s so I could concentrate on writing but in order to top the pensions up, I needed to do other things,” she says.

Due to when she was born, Jan was in the band of women who were able to get the state pension at the age of 60.

“I claimed it at 60,” she recalls. “I remember being very happy on my 60th birthday, going off to the post office with my ID, getting my freedom pass, and getting my first whack of state pension.”

Jan adds: “I got the state pension at 60 which women can’t do now, but a low teachers’ pension because I didn’t work until 60 – I worked until 56 so the teachers’ pension was on the low side. So I’ve done other things to top that up.”

With a wealth of opportunities ahead of her, Jan made the decision to retiree while knowing she’d need to bridge the gap when it came to her required income and her pension savings.

“I knew it needed topping up,” she says. “I did these other things because they were exciting and I like them.”

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