Being retired isn’t what it used to be
The concept of retirement has changed a lot over the years. Once upon a time it meant finishing work one day and seeing out your days from the comfort of an armchair the next.
Today, we’re healthier and living longer. As a result, our retirement years have become a whole new (often long) phase of life, filled with less-sedentary adventures like travel and volunteering.
1.4 million Brits are still working
There’s another big change. Retirement is no longer dictated by a set age like it once was. Some people retire younger, some just reduce their hours, while others celebrate their retirement birthday and carry on with business as usual.
In fact, according the Office of National Statistics 1.4 million Brits are working beyond the typical retirement age. That’s almost twice as many as in 1993.
Some of us are missing work
Whether we retire early, later or bang on the dot, adjusting to life after work isn’t always straightforward. As much as we love to moan about the daily grind, employment forms a large part of who we are and comes with a whole host of social and emotional benefits.
When we retire we can find ourselves missing the banter, using our brains, feeling valued or even just having somewhere to be.
Now we’re busy on our own terms
Being fitter and more active in our “golden years” seems to be making us far more adventurous too. As retirees, we’re finding many different ways to enjoy the positive bits of working but on our own terms.
Spending time with family
Especially grandchildren. In fact, a lot of retired grandparents find themselves committing to more than just the occasional ice cream and trip to the zoo.
Tough economic times, coupled with expensive childcare costs, mean many of us are helping with childcare every week. Rewarding as it is, it’s important to keep our own goals in mind and not overdo it.
Using the skills we’ve honed over a lifetime to change people’s lives by volunteering for charities and community organisations at home and overseas.
Coaching or mentoring
Using our professional knowledge to help others develop their careers and businesses. The Government encourages mentoring to help drive economic growth and sees the valuable role retirees’ can play in this.
We’re making the most of free courses and choosing whatever subjects take our fancy from mastering a language to crochet. The popularity of the University of the Third Age is proof of how much we’re enjoying developing new skills in later life.
Pursuing hobbies and interests
Having time on our side means we’re free to indulge our hobbies and passions whatever they may be. More and more local groups are springing up aimed at the growing number of retired people keen to pursue their interests in the company of like-minded souls.
Some of us are even using our retirement years to fulfil a dream of starting a business. In fact, according to a Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reports, 18% of entrepreneurs are over 55, and 7.9% are over 65.
New pension freedoms are making it easier for budding ‘olderpreneurs’ to drawdown on pension pots to help fund business plans. And the best bit? Being older, wiser and more experienced adds up to a greater chance of success.
Another popular wish fulfillment is travelling the world. Cheaper transport combined with better health makes retirees a travel agent’s dream customer. Many of us are enjoying the best of both worlds by ‘mouseholing’. Living in the UK in summer and jetting off to sunnier climes in the winter.
So are we ever truly retired?
When we’ve left work and are drawing a pension, then technically yes we are. But that’s where the traditional idea of retirement often ends.
These days many of us are busier than we were when we worked, but we’re doing what we want. We’re rightly making the most of being in good health and feeling 10 years younger than our parents probably did at our age.
After all, we could be a long time retired – 30 years is not unheard of. So the day will come when we slow down whether we choose to or not.
Retirement is no longer the end of the road. It’s the start of a new journey and another exciting stage in our life. Whether we choose to spend it with our feet up or running a marathon, the important thing is to feel positive and fulfilled – and to enjoy it.
If you enjoyed our take on retirement in the new millennium, you may also enjoy our take on The Great British Inheritance Tug of War, The Cost of Happiness in the UK today and How we Brits manage our money.