Well, the good news is a lot of us are living longer, healthier and more independent lives. The not-so-shiny side of that coin, of course, is that we'll be spending more of our golden years at work. As things traditionally stood up to now, men could claim their state pensions from the age of 65, while women could get them from age 60. The thing is, rising life expectancy means that people are actually starting to get pension payments for more years than they've paid into the system. As a result, the state pension age is going up.

What is the new State Pension Age?

The first step of this will be the biggest, at least for about half of us. By November 2018, women's state pension age will rise to 65, to bring it in line with men. For women approaching 60 now who were expecting to retire shortly, that's a pretty big leap – but it doesn't stop there.

Between 2018 and 2020, the state pension age for everyone is going up by another year to 66. It then goes up again to 67 between 2026 and 2028. Looking even further ahead, the age you can claim your state pension at is expected to hit 68 some time between 2037 and 2039.

What does the new State Pension Age mean for workers?

Of course, workers in some industries are likely to find this heavier going than in others. We're already seeing an ageing workforce affecting UK construction, with the over-60 bracket increasing faster than any other. With a lack of new blood entering the trade, squeezing a couple more years out of the existing workforce could make a big difference.

That said, expecting older workers to continue taking on the same kind of workloads as they did in their younger days might be a bit unfair. Of course, automation and new technologies like 3D printing and bricklaying machines have parts to play here. As the heavier duties get made easier and safer, a worker's age becomes less of an obstacle.

What will employers do about an ageing workforce?

For people now looking at a longer working life than they expected, there are alternatives to soldiering on in the same profession. There's discussion in government and industry circles about how to “recruit, retain and retrain” older workers. Apprenticeships are being promoted as a realistic option for the older crowd, for example. It's not just the workforce that needs to change, though.

With people staying in employment longer, employers themselves are going to need to alter their thinking about age. Right now, 20% of employees across the EU say their age is the biggest stumbling block in their careers. There are still some negative stereotypes about older workers, and those need to go.

Will the new pension age affect what I have to live on?

In the UK right, tens of thousands of people are reaching retirement age with no private pensions or savings. For those people, the state pension will be their only lifeline. That's why it's so important to know where you stand.

Whether you're just starting out, approaching retirement or looking to boost your skills and work longer, getting your pension savings in order is Job One.

If you are claiming a pension already, even if you're also working, you may need to submit a self-assessment tax return to HRMC. Find out more about pensions and self-assessment or use our quick tax returns calculator to get a quote for RIFT to do it for you.

Most importantly, whatever questions you have about tax rebates or tax returns, remember you can always talk to RIFT. We may all be working longer for our pensions, but there's no reason to over-feed the taxman while we do it.