The changing face of retirement

A generation ago, retirement meant stopping work completely and winding down. The baby-boomer generation, on the other hand, are much more likely to see it as a fresh start – a chance to explore new opportunities or carry on working on their terms.

What's changed

We're living longer, healthier and often more affluent lives – today's retirees can expect to spend 20 or more years in retirement.

The state pension age is rising, so we'll have to work for longer before we can claim our pension benefits. It's unlikely that the state will become more generous in the future - and fewer companies are offering final salary pension schemes.

All of which means that we will all need to take greater responsibility for our pension plans.

On a positive note, the pension system has become more flexible - you don't have to buy an annuity with your pension pot. If you have or take out a Self Invested Personal Pension (SIPP) you have the option of leaving your pension pot invested and drawing an income from it (subject to certain limitations).

More about annuities and income drawdown

Lifestyle choices

These days there is no blueprint for retirement – you have to create your own vision of what you want from life after work.

You might want to sell up and start a new life abroad. According to Standard Life research* the top retirement hotspots are Spain, France, USA, Canada and Ireland. Or you might prefer to stay in the UK, but move closer to family and friends.

At some point you might choose to downsize, perhaps to release some capital, cut your outgoings or help your children financially.

Of course, retirement doesn't have to mean a full stop to your working life. You might ease yourself in, cutting back the number of days a week that you work, or take on contract work.

You might even decide to become an 'olderpreneur' and start your own business – an ambition for 1-in-20 retirees, according to our research.

"We're relocating to France"

The Wingham-Wattses were planning to enjoy the quiet life in their French farmhouse. But as retirement approaches, they've realised that they can turn their passion into a business.

Read more

"I'm carrying on working"

Patricia McDonagh decided that she wasn't ready to retire, so she's scaling back her commitments so she can work three days a week and phase her retirement.

Read more

"We downsized to help our kids"

Tom and Elena Snow decided to sell the family home where they'd raised their three children so they could help them get onto the property ladder.

Read more

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2014 Budget update – annuities and pensions

Changes to workplace pensions

On 19 March, the Chancellor announced major
changes to UK pensions and annuities.

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