Revealed: The top UK retirement destinations

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Where do you dream of retiring in style? Somewhere sunny by the sea? Perhaps somewhere in the South of the UK? The good news is that you'll fit right in. The bad news is that you may find it a bit overcrowded.

A new study has revealed the retirement capitals of the UK - and they're clustered around places like this.
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The research, from LV= found that the Isle of Wight is the UK's retirement capital - where almost 42% of people are of state pension age. That is followed by Bexhill and Battle at 34%, Christchurch at 33% and Louth and Horncastle at 33%.

The top 10

Isle of Wight 42%
Bexhill and Battle 34%
Christchurch 33%
Louth and Horncastle 33%
Clacton 32%
West Dorset 32%
Chichester 32%
East Devon 31%
Suffolk Coast 31%
North Norfolk 31%

It's not a huge surprise that these coastal and often rural places are so attractive to older people. After proximity to family and good transport, fresh air is considered the most important aspect of a retirement destination. This is followed by things to do - from cafes to art galleries - and then proximity to the countryside or the sea.

Clearly once you have stopped having to sit cheek by jowl with other people in order to join the rat race into work, you want somewhere calmer, more beautiful, with plenty to do.

By contrast, the ten least popular retirement spots are all in the city. They are led by the South and East of London, Glasgow and Birmingham.

The bottom 10

Poplar and Limehouse 8%
Glasgow North 10%
Vauxhall 10%
Bethnal Green and Bow 10%
Lewisham and Depford 10%
Hackney South and Shoreditch 10%
Ladywood in Birmingham 10%
Hackney North and Stoke Newington 10%
Bermondsey and Old Southwark 10%
Battersea 11%

It may well be that once your working days are over, you are likely to cash in on the relatively overpriced housing in these parts of the world, and head for somewhere less hectic, demanding, crowded and noisy.

Perhaps its lucky that 7% of people name 'a large community of retirees' as a priority when choosing a retirement destination - as it seems they are highly concentrated.



The future

One interesting question is whether this will continue to be the case, as more people work into retirement, and more of them still need to be close to a source of work in their later years. The Isle of Wight may be a lovely place to relax in your golden years, but it's hardly a hive of industry.

The survey found that 57% of Britons believe that by the time they stop working, the average retirement will be very different from what it is today. They still expect to be working, and they expect to be active too: over half of people still working (56%) are looking forward to keeping themselves very active and trying new things in retirement.

When listing their priorities for retirement, being close to amenities such as a good public transport network (43%), access to bars and restaurants (30%) and culture and entertainment (27%) all scored far higher than proximity to the sea (19%).

Ray Chinn, LV= Head of Pensions, questioned whether those answering the survey would still feel the same by the time they came to retirement. He said: "It's clear that when you ask people about what they want in retirement their aspirations tend to mirror more closely their lifestyle today, rather than one which we would typically associate with a pensioner."

On the one hand they may just be missing the point about what they will want out of life in retirement. On the other, they may simply be reflecting the fact that they expect to live longer and work well into their 70's, so the life of those over the age of 65 may well be very different by then.

But what do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Revealed: The top UK retirement destinations
Figures from charity Age UK show that 29% of those over 60 feel uncertain or negative about their current financial situation - with millions facing poverty and hardship. Even though saving for retirement is not much fun, the message is therefore that having to rely on dwindling state benefits in retirement is even less so. To avoid ending up in this situation, adviser Hargreaves Lansdown recommends saving a proportion of your salary equal to half your age at the time of starting a pension. In other words, if you are 30 when you start a pension, you should put in 15% throughout your working life. If you start at 24, saving 12% of your salary a year should produce a similar return.
Many older couples rely on the pension income of one person - often the man. Should that person die first, the other person can therefore be left in a difficult position financially.
One way to prevent financial hardship for the surviving person is to take out a joint life annuity that will continue to pay out up to 67% of the original payments to the surviving partner should one of them die.

The disadvantage of this approach, however, is that the rate you receive will be lower. Again, the Pensions Advisory Service on 0845 601 2923 is a useful first port of call if you are unsure what to do.

Around 427,000 households in the over-70 age groups are either three months behind with a debt repayment or subject to some form of debt action such as insolvency, according to the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).

Its figures also show that those aged 60 or older who came to the CCCS for help last year owed an average of £22,330. Whether you are retired or not, the best way to tackle debt problems is head on.

Free counselling services from the likes of CCCS and Citizens Advice can help with budgeting and dealing with creditors.

Importantly, they can also conduct a welfare benefits check to make sure you are receiving the pension credit, housing and council tax benefits, attendance and disability living allowances you are entitled to.

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The average UK pensioner household faces a £111,400 tax bill in retirement as increasing longevity means pensioners are living on average up to 19 years past the age of 65, according to figures from MetLife. And every year in retirement adds an extra £5,864 in direct and indirect taxes based on current tax rates to the costs for the average pensioner household. You can be forced to go bankrupt if you fail to pay your taxes, so it is vital to factor these costs into your retirement planning.It is also important to check that you are receiving all the benefits and tax breaks you are entitled to if you want to make the most of your retirement cash.

The cost of a room in a care home in many parts of the country is now over £30,000 a year, according to figures from Prestige Nursing and Care. So even if the prime minister announces a cap on care costs - last year the economist Andrew Dilnot called for a new system of funding which would mean that no one would pay more than £35,000 for lifetime care - families will still face huge accommodation costs. Ways to cut this cost include opting for home care rather than a care home. Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing and Care, said: "For older people who may need care in the shorter term, home care is an option which allows people to maintain their independence for longer while living in their own home and should be included in the cap." However, the only other answer is to save more while you can.
Older Britons are often targeted by unscrupulous criminals - especially if they have a bit of money put away. For example, many over 50s were victims of the so-called courier scam that tricked into keying their pin numbers into their phones and handing their cards to "couriers" who visited their homes. It parted consumers from £1.5 million in under two years. Detective Chief Inspector Paul Barnard, head of the bank sponsored dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit (DCPCU), said: "Many of us feel confident that we can spot fraudsters, but this type of crime can be sophisticated and could happen to anyone." The same is true of boiler room scams that target wealthier Britons with money to invest, offering "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunities to snap up shares at bargain prices. Tactics to watch out for include cold calling, putting you under pressure to pay up or lose the opportunity for good, and claiming to have insider information that they are prepared to share with you.
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