Pensioners seeking sun and fun should head to West Sussex

West Sussex offers the best quality of life for retired people, according to a study covering England and Wales.

SEE ALSO: The horrible squeeze killing retirement incomes

See also: Private pension income gap widens, figures show

Places in southern and eastern England dominated the top 10 list, with Dorset, East Sussex, Devon, Norfolk and Suffolk also identified as hotspots by Prudential.

Prudential looked at a range of data including disability-free life expectancy, access to healthcare, crime levels, pensioner populations, healthy lifestyles and the weather to make the findings. It used figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the Met Office.

While nowhere in Wales made the top 10, Prudential said pensioners there do have reasons to be cheerful, for instance Gwynedd has a particularly high proportion of healthcare workers compared with the population size and Dyfed-Powys has notably low crime rates.

With Fishbourne Roman Palace and Arundel Castle within its boundaries, West Sussex attracts particularly high numbers of pensioners and also enjoys strong rankings for good weather and disability-free life expectancy.

Dorset, home to much of the Jurassic Coast and the backdrop for TV crime drama Broadchurch, also remains a popular destination for pensioners and has particularly good weather, Prudential said.

Surrey has the highest average pension income at £21,400 - nearly a third higher than the average in England and Wales.

Stan Russell, a retirement income expert at Prudential, said: "There are now 10.6 million people aged 65 or over in England and Wales, a million more than five years ago, and accounting for nearly one in five of the total population. So deciding on the right place to retire to is a challenge faced by a huge number of people each year.

"Our analysis shows that every part of the country has something different to offer pensioners, but the counties with the most attractive attributes tend to be along the southern and eastern coasts of England. Counties like West Sussex and Dorset may be attractive because of their low crime rates or the quality of their health care. However finding the right spot to live in such popular locations can be tricky."

Here are the overall quality of life in retirement rankings, according to Prudential:

1. West Sussex

2. Dorset

3. East Sussex

4. Devon

5. Norfolk

=6. Oxfordshire

=6.Worcestershire

8. Isle of Wight

=9. Suffolk

=9. North Yorkshire

8 PHOTOS
How we spend our pensions
See Gallery
How we spend our pensions

Figures from Saga show that the over 50s now account for the majority of money spent by Brits on travel and tourism. They have the time to spare, the money, and they are healthy enough to take on the world.

A poll from Abta found that in the wake of pension freedoms, 35% of people were considering cashing in at least part of their pension to travel. A separate study by Senior Railcard found that pensioners take an average of three holidays a year, plus two weekends away, and 17 day trips.

Research from Senior Railcard found that retirees eat out an average of three times a month. However, one in ten do so more than twice a week, and one in three people said that one of the first things they did when they retired was to go out for lunch with their friends.

Of course, just because retirees want to enjoy themselves, it doesn't mean they are happy to throw money away. The vast majority are keen to eat at lunchtimes, when a fixed lunch menu tends to be cheaper, and canny retirees are skilled at tracking down pensioner special offers too.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics show that on average nearly a fifth of the money spent by people aged 65-74 is on leisure. This includes everything from the cinema and theatre to golfing and gardening. They spent more on this than on food, energy bills and transport.

A report by Canada Life found that retirees are spending £4,279 a year on having fun - that’s more than £1,000 more than they spend on boring essentials, and is a 74% increase over the past ten years. It went on to predict that this trend was set to continue, and that pension freedoms would encourage people to spoil themselves a bit more in retirement

Pensioner property wealth is now over £850 billion, and all these family homes don’t look after themselves. The Senior Railcard survey put home renovations in the top 20 activities people got stuck into on retirement, and figures from ABTA found that almost a third of people who were considering raiding their pension pots under the new pension freedoms planned to spend the cash on their home. This seems like an eminently sensible investment - looking after what is undoubtedly their most valuable asset.

Unsurprisingly, while some pensioners are very well off indeed, others are struggling with debt. Figures from Key Retirement found that the average retiree has £34,000 of debt.

Most of this is mortgage borrowing - in many cases driven up by the number of people who unwittingly signed up to an interest-only mortgage. However, credit cards, overdrafts, and loans are also common. It’s why so many pensioners have used pension freedoms to access enough cash to pay their debts.

The day to day basics are swallowing up their fair share of pensioner cash too. On average, people aged 65-74 spend a third of their weekly income on essentials like food and bills - which is hardly living the high life.
The bank of gran and grandad has become an increasingly vital source of cash for families. According to Key Retirement, of those who release equity from their property, 21% of them use the cash to treat their children and grandchildren. This includes an average of £33,350 to help children get onto the property ladder, £6,000 to buy them a new car, £11,000 on family weddings, and £24,780 giving grandchildren a helping hand.

While retirees are quite rightly spending what they need to enjoy retirement, they are hardly all throwing caution to the wind, buying flash cars and spending the kids' inheritance.

Most expect to have something left over to pass onto their family after their death. Some 69% expect to leave property in their wills, and 75% expect to leave cash - according to Unbiased.co.uk - because while baby boomers know how to have fun - they also know how to save for the future.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS