Still golden: Retirement is a time to realise dreams

Our survey shows retirement is eagerly anticipated, despite uncertainty

Our latest research looking at how Brits perceive life in retirement offered some highly optimistic results. Recent reports1 in the media about the future of the state pension, aren’t dampening the nation’s anticipation for its ‘golden years’, with over half of working Brits stating that they eagerly anticipate their retirement. Around three in ten (27%) are planning to use this time to fulfil a lifelong dream.

The study, which involved a poll of 2,000 in August 2017, looked into attitudes to retirement, levels of financial preparation, and plans for the future.

Ambition wins when it comes to planning for the future

Over a quarter (26%) of those in current fulltime employment did express concern about the cost of retiring, although the research showed this isn’t deterring ambitions; with 29% planning on using retirement years to travel the world, 33% hoping to master a new language, and 27% even planning to learn to play a musical instrument.

With the average aspired age coming out at 57, we found that over a third (32%) of those people interviewed hoped to be able to quit work completely. 40% however said that semi-retirement was definitely an option, and not just for financial reasons.

Brits top ten aspirations for retirement

  1. Spending more time with family (35%)
  2. Taking up a new hobby (34%)
  3. Being more active (33%)
  4. Travelling the world (27%)
  5. Spending more time with friends (24%)
  6. Fulfilling a lifelong dream (24%)
  7. Starting their own business (18%)
  8. Eating out once a week (17%)
  9. Going on holiday twice a year (17%)
  10. Getting work experience in a dream career (14%)

Many choosing the option of semi-retirement

Whilst 15% of those deliberating semi-retirement said their decision would ultimately come down to a need for extra income, more than half (53%) felt it allowed you to ease into the change. And 31% even believed that semi-retirement could be the perfect time to fulfil lifelong job ambitions, or start a business.

Of those currently enjoying semi-retirement, 30% said the time had offered them the chance to start a new career.

Suzi Grant, 67, (current location: Brighton) Alternative Ageing, said: “I became a blogger three years ago at the age of 64 and it’s now ridiculously successful.  I never expected that what started as a hobby would become nearly a full-time job!  

“I worked in TV and radio most of my working life, trained as a nutritionist then wrote three books before happily retiring at 60. Because photography, writing and health are my passions, I have taken to my new career like a duck to water.”

Lizzie Harley, 31, Leeds said. “Who knows what retirement will look like when I eventually get there, but I’m not going to let the uncertainty ruin the anticipation.

“My uncle worked hard his whole life and recently discovered that he just doesn’t have enough in his pension pot to retire fully. He used to love writing, so when he quit his mechanic job he spoke to the local paper about doing a work placement in their editorial team. He worked for free for a couple of weeks before they offered him a part time job writing local news pieces. He’s absolutely loving it, and the extra income is a big help.

“Even if the state pension is long gone, and I’ve not been able to save as much as I’d hoped, I still plan to at least semi-retire before I’m in my 70s. If I can find a source of income that keeps me active, and social, and I enjoy, I’ll count myself pretty lucky.”

Jamie Smith-Thompson, managing director at Portafina added:

“With semi-retirement revealed to be a viable option for so many, and numerous retirees already using this as a way to fulfil lifestyle and career ambitions, the nation’s dream retirement age of 57 may be achievable to some degree – that’s something I think we can all get behind. It’s important to remember that this can only come about through people taking retirement planning into account as early as possible”

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