The Telegraph has recently confirmed what many of us have long suspected. Namely that retirement can be a wonderful life stage. Indeed, the broadsheet tells us that reaching retirement age may make people feel happier and healthier than they have done at any life stage since their mid 30s.
Therefore, with so much potential out there, it seems sensible to ask ourselves how we can get the most out of our retirement years.
Indeed, this seems to be a sensible question at any age because a great retirement depends heavily on forward planning. Foremost among these plans is, of course, a pension. While retirement may be great, there is no denying that having enough money to enjoy it is the ideal. Building up a decent pension pot takes time and income, so if you are reading this several years in advance of retirement but have not yet sorted out a pension plan, what are you waiting for? Have a chat with a good financial adviser and start safeguarding your retirement years, now.
Another key issue for the retired is mobility, particularly the ability to get out and about, to enjoy events and meet up with friends and family. Many older people continue to drive. The national press recently carried the heartening news that the number of UK drivers aged over 60 has hit a record high.
Driving can be a lifeline, especially for the disabled and isolated, and thankfully there are a number of schemes, such as Motability, that help those with disabilities to take to the road and enjoy the freedom that retirement gives. Many high quality car manufacturers such as Mercedes offer motability vehicles to support this great initiative.
Some experts are actually concerned that older people tend to give up driving too early on the (incorrect) assumption that older drivers are somehow more dangerous on the roads. While it is important to declare any relevant health problems to the DVLA, and to discuss them with your own doctor, in fact research suggests that most older drivers in decent health are unlikely to be a hazard on the roads and should not part with their driving licences unnecessarily.
Another form of mobility that benefits from attention in retirement is exercise. In fact recent reports suggest that many people are more physically active in retirement than they were when working. Perhaps that is why they are all having so much fun! Exercise, at an appropriate level of intensity, remains important throughout life, but perhaps particularly so in later years. Exercise classes, walking groups or other physical pursuits can also be a great way to meet new friends of all ages. Being sociable, incidentally, is also known to benefit health and wellbeing in people of all ages, including those who have retired.
So it seems that we all have a great deal to look forward to and enjoy in retirement, but, as Roosevelt once said, “old age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.”