Retirement has traditionally been thought of as a time when you can relax, give up work and enjoy a more sedate pace of life. But, given that a third of the British population is over 50 – and that people in this age group are the healthiest, wealthiest and most active they've ever been – it looks like things are changing.
The so-called "superboomers" are redefining retirement by staying in work, keeping active and embarking on a new phase of life, while many are starting new careers and even their own businesses. In fact, these superboomers account for 24% of the UK's population and 75% of its wealth, and research from The Future Laboratory suggests that this age group could become an even bigger economic force.
Those aged 50+ are becoming far more technologically astute with eight in 10 having an internet connection while two-thirds indulge in online shopping, and many are putting their years of experience to good use by becoming entrepreneurs. Not only are one in five over-50s self employed, but there are some 1.7 million entrepreneurs aged over 50 in the UK, a figure that's expected to rise to more than 2 million by the end of the decade.
And it looks like they're succeeding. According to the report, superboomer start-ups are far more likely to be a success than those run by younger people, with 70% of start-ups led by the over 50s lasting five years – compared with just 28% for younger entrepreneurs.
Ros Altman, who's recently been dubbed the Government's champion for older workers, has called it a "social revolution" and welcomes the prospect of more older people staying in work. But, there'll need to be clear changes in order to account for this new demographic, ideally with the introduction of a phased withdrawal from work rather than a set cut-off date to make it a process rather than an event.
However, in many cases the decision to stay at work will be driven by financial reasons as well as social ones, with the prospect of minimal retirement income encouraging many people to remain employed. And, with official figures showing that the number of people aged 60+ will reach 20 million by 2030, it's a decision a lot more people will need to face.
So, how will you spend your retirement? Whether you're hoping to give up work or are actively choosing to stay on, the "new retirement" is coming. To make the most of it, you'll want to maximise your income from every angle, whether that's from staying in work, finding the right ISA, getting a guaranteed income from an annuity or taking advantage of new pension freedoms. As long as you go about it the right way – ideally by seeking suitable advice – you can enjoy your retirement however you choose
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