The Meaning of Retirement

Recent research from Skipton Building Society asks people approaching retirement what it means to them

20 August 2014

Retirement is seen as a positive experience, a recent study revealed.

Researchers found that being care-free, having more time to relax and spend with family and going on more holidays mean many view retirement as a good thing.

‘Golden years’, ‘stress-free’ and ‘exciting’ are other words used to describe our view of the years after quitting work for good.

In fact, the average Brit views retirement as 65 per cent positive and just 35 negative.

It also emerged that our view of retirement becomes more positive as we get closer to it, with those aged under 50 more likely to see the post-work era as ‘boring’ and ‘depressing’.

A spokesman for Skipton Building Society, which commissioned the research, said: "To young people, retirement can be seen as a bad thing.

"When you are just starting out in your working life, the idea of not having to get up for a job can seem boring and unexciting.  

"Retirement can also seem so far away when you are young, with those who are already retired seeming ‘old’ and ‘boring’ in comparison to the ‘exciting’ lives they lead.

"But it seems as you get closer to your retirement this changes, with those aged over 50 feeling far more positive about their years after work.

"Years spent living a 9-5 life can mean you really start to look forward to a time when you don’t have to get up to an alarm every morning and have much more freedom to spend your time exactly how you want to."

The study of 2,000 Brits found that 63 per cent view retirement as a positive experience, with just 11 per cent believing it is negative.

But 69 per cent of over 50s see it as a good thing compared to just 57 per cent of those under 50.

‘Care-free’ is the term most likely to be associated with retirement, followed by ‘relaxing’, ‘holidays’ and ‘family time’.

Other positive words include ‘fun’, ’wonderful’ and ‘quiet’.

The only negative term to feature within the top ten is ‘end of an era’ while ‘old’, ‘no money’ and ‘boredom’ are also within the top 20.

It also emerged that 72 per cent of people are looking forward to their retirement, with four in 10 even admitting to being jealous of those who have already quit work.

But 57 per cent of people admitted to being at least a little worried about their life after work, with financial worries being the biggest concern.

Other worries include ill-health, no longer using their brain, being lonely or bored, and having nothing to get up for each day.

Despite the money worries, less than half of Brits have some kind of plan in place for how they are going to fund their retirement.

And worryingly, 48 per cent of over 50s also admitted to having no retirement fund, despite the end of their working life being just years away.

But eight in ten would feel even more positive about their retirement if they had their financial plan in place.

A spokesman for Skipton Building Society added: "Many of our customers are aged fifty-plus and it’s great to see that their age group appears to be really embracing the positive opportunities retirement can bring.

“However, people’s lack of preparedness comes as no surprise, unfortunately. We’re acutely aware that retirement planning is a complex and daunting area and this can sometimes put people off the planning they need to do to ensure themselves the best possible future.

“Indeed, our customers have told us that they feel confused, particularly in light of changes to State pension provision and the recent Budget announcement about changes to annuity rules.

“That’s why Skipton is trying to tackle this growing social issue head-on, On 1 July we launched our unique new High Street retirement planning service, with the strapline 'Skipton - For Life Ahead'.

“We are inviting anyone who wants help in achieving the kind of future they want to come in and undergo a free My Retirement Review and start the conversation about their life ahead.”

Top twenty words we associate with retirement

1. Care-free
2. Relaxing
3. Holidays
4. Family time
5. Golden years
6. End of an era
7. Stress-free
8. Exciting
9. Fun
10. Wonderful
11. Quiet
12. Old
13. No money
14. One long holiday
15. Adventurous
16. Boredom
17. Ill-health
18. Lonely
19. Depressing
20. Idyllic

Retirement planning with Skipton Building Society

Skipton Building Society can help plan your retirement. Visit Retirement Planning to understand how we can help, or use our Retirement Calculator to understand how financially prepared you are.

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