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The neologism pre-tirement describes the emergence of a new working state, positioned between the traditional states of employment and retirement. The word is a portmanteau word, coming from the prefix "pre" and the word "retirement." The state is being found primarily in first world economies, with aging populations. A "pre-tiree" will continue to create economic wealth and/or contribute to the generation of knowledge, likely on a part-time or reduced hours basis. Some "pre-tirees" use the period to give back by providing unpaid social support. This form of unpaid work creates economic benefit, by allowing taxes to be focused on other wealth creating or protecting activities, but relies on the existence of sufficient financial resource.


The emergence of a new blend of work and retirement was established in Consumer Intelligence research in December 2014. Here are key findings from the research published in a report by Zopa (2014):[1]

  • ‘Pre-tirement’ begins in 50s and runs well into 70s, as Britons ease themselves into retirement
  • Britons cut working hours earlier in life, but continue in paid employment for longer: 17% of over-65s are still in paid employment and 30% of them are in unpaid employment
  • 89% of 50- to 54-year-olds say they do not know when they will retire, and 35% expect to retire later
  • Only 24% of those 55–64 said they would be financially secure if they had to retire immediately
  • Giles Andrews, Zopa CEO: 'Retirement is no longer about clearing your desk on your 65th birthday'

The concept appears to be similar to semi-retirement, but the term indicates a half retirement form, without indicating the gradual shift towards a fully retired end state or the non-existence of retirement.

One position that may be extrapolated from the research is that a growing number of individuals hope to be healthy enough to get Pre-tirement until they die.

Causes and effects[edit]

While the research shows that a number of individuals chose to shift to this state, it also shows the existence of Enforced Pre-tirement, individuals a pension that will support their living costs. Further research will be needed to establish the different types of Pre-tirement states, and their root causes.

The use of the term retirement to encompass Pre-tirement would hide this emerging state.

Effects of different forms of work retirement balance have not yet been fully researched. Early findings show that an abrupt shift from full time work to full time retirement can cause depression and other negative health effects.

Consideration of the positive benefits of Pre-tirement are likely to be accelerated as the impact of the aging population starts to take deeper effect.


  • The term was first found in a blog by The Martian Observer (2010); the Blog's use of the neologism matches the term described in the Zopa Report.
  • First used in a book title by Kris Miller (2012),[2] though her usage describes planning for retirement, rather than an emerging state of employment.
  • The ACAS website referred the important shift in retirement norms observed in the Zopa Report: "many people are choosing to ease into retirement in a 'phased or gradual process'.[3]
  • Use of the neologism in news publications peaked after the publication of the Zopa Report.

[4] [5]

  • Usage has been heard on the Radio 4 Today Program March 2015 Esther Rantzen used the term when discussing The Silver Line.
  • A blog popular in the F.I.R.E. community, Ask The Savings Guy, describes pretirement as a period "where [one] spend[s] months or even years transitioning between fully employed and fully retired".[6]


  1. ^ "Britons opt for Pre-tirement over Total Retirement"
  2. ^ "Ready for Pretirement: 3 Secrets for Safe Money and a Fabulous Future"[1]
  3. ^ "Gradual 'pre-tirement' is 'here to stay'"
  4. ^ "Guardian: What is pre-tirement? A way for the over-50s to stagger (towards) retirement"[2]
  5. ^ "Daily Express: Gearing up for Pre-tirement the new trend for over 50's"[3]
  6. ^ thesavingsguy (2021-09-25). "Pretirement – more than a buzzword? - Ask The savings guy". Retrieved 2021-09-26.