Your middle-class concept of retirement is out of date

pension potImagine your retirement and what do you see; twenty years of travelling, relaxing and finally living your dreams, a reward for decades of slogging it out in the workplace?

Well think again because your notion of retirement is as out-dated as defined benefit (DB) pension schemes.While generations before us could pinpoint their exact retirement date and know exactly what income they would have to live on thanks to DB pensions, our generation will not have that privilege.

We will have to save more off our own backs and work longer in order to fund our later life pursuits. The government is well aware of this shift and has appointed pension expert Ros Altmann as older workers' tsar to encourage businesses to retain, retrain and recruit older employees.

While this part of Altmann's role is clearly important, there is an even more pressing part to her job: convincing us all to change the way we think about retirement.

For people in their 30s and 40s, and possibly even 50s depending how lucky and how prudent you have been with your savings, retirement is going to be decidedly more 'flexible'. This is a polite way of saying you'll have to work for longer, whether that be full-time, part-time or becoming one of the hundreds of thousands of self-employed over-50s.

This middle class ideal of 'reaching retirement' and sitting pretty in your mortgage-free house isn't an option for many people anymore – you only have to look at the number of interest-only mortgages to realise people will still be paying off their property in their dotage.

For previous generation the working classes and the poorest in society were the only ones who had to turn up to work in old age, clocking in and out because they didn't have the funds to retire, but that is going to apply to many more of us unless we decide to do something about it now.

While it is realistic to expect us all to work longer considering we are living longer and that retirement will be more phased than 'cliff edge', working 'til you drop isn't a fait accompli.

Starting on the long road to retirement by saving even small amounts regularly now is one way to provide yourself with some flexibility in your retirement and the ability to enjoy the shifting landscape of old age and maybe even some of those holidays you're dreaming of taking.

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