You can be healthier and happier - eventually


World travel

There's good news for anyone who wishes they could be fitter, have more exciting hobbies, and go on holiday more. All of these things are within your grasp - it's just that you're going to have to wait a while to get your hands on them.

Because a new survey has shown that this is what retirement means nowadays.

The study, by Skipton Building Society, found that most people retire in good health nowadays, and instead of looking forward to some quality time with their sofa and their TV, they are getting the chance to do all the things they put off when working full time. Some 76% of people plan to be as busy and active as possible, before their body gives up the ghost.

The best things in life

Retirees get to do the good things in life. They take an average of three holidays a year, and 29% have plans to travel the world properly. Some 40% intend to take up old hobbies, while on average retirees spend at least two days and one evening a week socialising.

They also get to do those things which seem too hard to squeeze into a working day - including keeping fit. More than 50% do more exercise than they did in their 20s, with hiking, swimming and cycling listed as the most popular activities. Just under half say retirement is a great time for all those things you don't have time for in your youth.

Meanwhile one in four do charity or volunteer work. One in ten have also attended evening classes, or gone back into higher education, and 11% plan to learn a language in retirement.

Stacey Stothard from Skipton Building Society, says: "Years ago the general perception was that once you had given up work and entered retirement, you'd pretty much had it. You were on the journey to your grave. But these days people have a much brighter attitude to retirement, acknowledging the fact that actually, there's a good third of your life left to enjoy. As such people are embarking on activities which would once have seemed risky for a pensioner to try - such as Zumba, dance classes and aerobics."

"We're seeing a generation of pensioners who are every bit young at heart – and quite possibly more on the go than people half their age."

The sting

It sounds like a wonderful future, where we all get everything we always wished for. However, there's a major sting in the tail. This sort of retirement is available to people retiring now - with plenty of equity in the homes they bought in their 20's, and their generous final salary pensions.

The future for younger people, with no property to speak of, no pensions saving, and the prospect of waiting until their 70s before they qualify for a state pension, is altogether more alarming. There's every chance that instead of exploring the world, earning a degree, and getting fit, they'll be working all hours to make ends meet.

The only solution is to take control of our own future, and save for our retirement. The question is whether anyone has any cash left for this anymore, or whether the golden age of retirement will soon be gone forever.

Seven retirement nightmares

Seven retirement nightmares

More stories