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Will the financial reality of retirement match your dream of retirement?

planning for retirement imageArticle by Fabafterfifty

How do you see your life in retirement? The dream and the reality may be dramatically different according to a new study. And most of the disappointment in retirement will come from lack of funds. It seems many retirees are not financially prepared to turn their retirement dreams into reality.

Millions of people think their retired life will be filled with luxury- but face a grim reality check, it emerged yesterday.

Researchers found Brits refuse to give up on an idealistic vision of their golden years, expecting glorious sandy beaches, rounds of golf, and glamorous city breaks. The study of 2,000 British adults determined how people predict their retirement will be, before measuring those expectations against the experience of those already retired. The ‘retirement: ideal versus reality’ report found many have a vision of new cars, spa visits and tranquillity, but in reality just a tenth are saving enough cash to support a comfortable retirement.

Yesterday Marc Bell, from leading health and wellbeing mutual organisation Benenden Healthcare which commissioned the report, said: ”We often see adverts aimed at those of retirement age with a sun-soaked hazy vision of glorious days spent in relaxation.

”The truth is somewhat darker with the reality being that, for many of us, retirement will be just as much a struggle as our working years – if not more so.

”Nearly a third of us are caught up in this dream of putting greens and Mediterranean cruises – a far cry from the reality where retired people can only afford two short UK-based trips a year.

The ideal retirement

”The ideal retirement appears to feature taking on new hobbies and doing what you always wanted to, yet is contradicted by the apparent realisation by nearly half of those taking part in the survey that they are probably not saving enough for the future.

”Staggeringly, a fifth of us are yet to even begin saving for our retirement.”

The report found dreams of an ideal retirement have convinced 30 per cent of Brits that their standard of living will improve dramatically once they’re able to retire.Only one in ten reckon they will need any sort of employment in retirement and, incredibly, only six per cent think they’ll need extra income to support their pension. And the majority expect at least four holidays a year in their golden years, but that’s a far cry from those currently retired who can afford just two short breaks – normally in the UK – and live on less than £37 a day.

But despite the majority of Brits expecting a comfy and relaxing retirement, 45 per cent admit they don’t think they’re saving enough for the future and remarkably, a fifth are saving nothing at all.That means most of us will still be dreaming of the relaxing lifestyle long after giving up work.Indeed, three in ten people confessed to a ‘live for the now’ approach to money, with little thought given to their pension or later years because ‘there’s plenty of time yet.’

Assessment of retired life

But people currently in retirement are less carefree in their assessment of retired life – less than a third can afford the holidays abroad that are a key feature of the retirement dream. Just a fifth can afford city breaks and one in ten have been on a cruise. One in twenty have picked up golf and just eight per cent have started painting or carried out a DIY project. The same number have gone wine tasting. Just over one in ten head to their local swimming pool to stay fit and only four per cent have tried to learn a foreign tongue.

A fifth of people have a job in retirement to gain extra income and the average pensioner gets by on £257.86 per week – less than £37 a day. And while baking, reading and walking were regular features of retired life, one in four admitted they also worried regularly about money issues.

In fact, a third says their pension barely covers their day to day living.

Over a fifth of retired people said their lifestyle was dramatically impacted by health issues, which prevent them from carrying out the things they wish they were able to do.

Furthermore, 35 per cent claim that retirement has seen their standard of living decrease notably and a tenth said retired life was not at all like they’d pictured it would be.

A quarter of those retired believe the younger generation have a misguided view that retired life will be easy and put off thinking about it where possible.

Only half described their retired life as comfortable, with worries about how their own declining health will affect their family, and concerns over healthcare costs taking their toll.

 It’s never too early to start thinking about your retirement years.

”Considering your possible circumstances, especially at a time when pensions are increasingly uncertain, can help alleviate those later worries when you are retired.

”You should also consider the rising costs of healthcare, whilst not having safeguards such as life cover could end up leaving loved ones to pick up the pieces and to try and deal with huge financial burdens.”


Ceri Wheeldon

Ceri is Founder and Editor of Fabafterfifty.co.uk She is a frequent speaker at events and in the media on topics related to women over 50 , including style and living agelessly. With 20+ years experience as a headhunter Ceri also now helps support those looking to extend their working lives.

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