For 61-year old Margaret, and millions of other women, being able to retire with a pension has become an unaffordable dream. She has relied on working as a supply teacher to pay the bills. But she says employers don’t want to hire older workers. After many unsuccessful job applications, Margaret has gone back to university to study creative writing and to seek a new career. Lindsay Cook, the FT’s Money Mentor columnist, suggests how women in Margaret’s situation can maximise their retirement income, and Stuart Lewis, the founder of over-50s online community Rest Less, has plenty of tips for older jobseekers.

If you would like to talk to Claer for a future episode, please email the Money Clinic team at with a short description of your dilemma, and how you would like us to help. Follow Claer on Twitter and Instagram @Claerb and read her weekly Serious Money column in the FT Money section of the FT Weekend newspaper.

Further reading:

-The experts had plenty of practical tips for UK listeners looking to get on top of their retirement planning.

-To track down lost pensions, Lindsay Cook suggested that Margaret uses the government’s Pensions Tracing Service, which is free to use. As we said on the show, please be careful of copycat websites run by commercial firms.

-You can also check how many years’ worth of State Pension contributions you’ve made, and what you could receive in retirement

-Looking for a job in your 50s and 60s can be a very challenging and lonely experience, as Margaret has found. Rest Less is an online community and recruitment website for older workers which is packed with all kinds of tips and advice. Membership is free, and has trebled since the start of lockdown.

-Claer’s latest FT column is full of practical advice for job seekers, drawing on a live video Q&A with Jonathan Black, the FT’s “Dear Jonathan’ columnist and director of the careers service at Oxford University. This contains useful suggestions of how to reach out to contacts for help finding your next position, and the strange theory of why wearing smart shoes in Zoom interviews could boost your performance — even though your feet are out of shot!

-Finally, if you’re considering going back to university in later life, you may be concerned about student loans. In the UK, these operate more like a graduate tax than a conventional loan, as this free to read column by Claer explains.

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