The ultimate retirement bucket list

Seeing the Northern Lights, buying a dog and travelling around the country by train are just some of the things on the average retiree’s bucket list. A survey of 2,000 people from the UK has revealed a top 50 list of all the ambitions people have for the years after they leave work.

Doing the things they wanted to for ages

As well as hiking around the world to nine different locations, some adults wish to spend their later years tending to an allotment while others want to track down long-lost relatives. Some die-hard romantics dream of revisiting their original honeymoon destination or renewing their wedding vows. But others are fed up with their existing relationships, and plan to have an affair with a younger man or woman when they get the chance.

The majority of people see retirement as an opportunity to fulfil all the dreams they’ve held for years and years, but haven’t had time to carry out.

Stacey Stothard, spokeswoman for UK insurance company Skipton Building Society, which carried out the research, said: “The general consensus for people who haven’t yet retired is that when they give up work, they can really start to live their life. Many Brits view their later years as a chance to do all the things they’ve wanted to do for ages, it is considered to be one big long holiday.

“But we anticipate there being a lot of people who just assume they will be able to do everything they want in retirement, without giving any real thought to how they will achieve this. We know that many Brits have no provisions in place for retirement, which means that as well as being unable to ‘live the dream’, they may struggle with the basics such as paying bills, buying food and keeping a roof over their heads,” she said.

The study also shows that many people are looking forward to having enough time to write a book after they’ve given up work, while others want to have lessons in cooking, painting or learning a foreign language.

Grandparents are looking forward to spending more time with their beloved grandchildren, and some have hopes of taking them to Disneyland, or to see Father Christmas at Lapland. Route 66 in America, The Great Wall of China, the Maldives and Las Vegas are amongst the destinations people would like to visit after the age of 65.

The local community is set to benefit from kind-hearted Brits – while some like the idea of charity work, others want to volunteer at the local school while animal lovers want to do dog walking for the nearest animal shelter.

Becoming a Brown Owl for the Brownies, or an Akela for the Scouts is another unfulfilled dream for many. As is not getting up before midday every day, and being able to do what you want when you want.

And some people are just looking forward to having the time to carry out tasks they can’t do while still at work – such as sorting the loft out, redecorating the house, putting decades of photographs into an album and starting a gardening project.

Other more unusual things to appear on the retirement bucket list include getting a facelift and riding an elephant. Visiting relatives abroad, getting numerous spa treatments, sightseeing and buying a second home also feature on the list.

Being prepared

The survey indicates that on the whole, 43 percent of people imagine their retirement years will be some of the most exciting of their life, while two-thirds want to use the time to fulfil all their dreams and ambitions.

Just under half of those already foresee being financially comfortable once they’ve given up work, and 43 percent think they’ll have enough money to do everything they want to do.

Skipton’s Stothard advised that everyone should bear in mind that clarity on plans for savings and investments goes hand-in-hand with their plans for retirement. “For instance, people should be aware of when they will be able to pay off their mortgage and clear other debts. This will give them the chance to free up extra cash to fund their retirement plans.

“They should also check and double check on their pension arrangements to ensure their projected income will be sufficient to fund their retirement hopes.”


1. Sightseeing
2. Just do what you want, when you want
3. Cruises
4. See the Northern Lights
5. Spend more time with/look after the grandchildren
6. Live abroad/get a second home abroad
7. Buy a dog
8. Train trips
9. Grow own vegetables/start an allotment
10. Travel Europe in a camper van
11. Revisit original honeymoon destinations
12. Cake-making
13. Charity work
14. Do Route 66 in America
15. Go on safari
16. Learn a foreign language
17. Visit the Great Wall of China
18. Tea at the Ritz
19. Put decades of photos in photo albums
20. Gardening project
21. Gamble in Las Vegas
22. Re-decorate/renovation project
23. Getting spa treatments
24. Take the grandchildren to Disneyland
25. Crafts
26. Build your own house
27. Help your kids with some DIY
28. Renew wedding vows
29. Bus tours
30. Swimming with dolphins
31. Visit relatives abroad
32. Lake District hiking
33. Have an affair with a younger man / woman
34. Trip to Stonehenge
35. Write a book
36. National Trust membership
37. Meet Father Christmas/take the children to meet Father Christmas
38. Hot air balloon ride
39. Work on family tree/track down long-lost relatives
40. Scuba diving in the Maldives
41. Volunteer in the local animal shelter/dog walking
42. Get a facelift/cosmetic surgery
43. Ride an elephant
44. Cooking lessons
45. Hiking around the world
46. Paint/make art/attend art classes
47. Sort the loft out
48. Not get up before midday every day
49. Volunteer for community or local school
50. Be a Brown Owl in Brownies/Akela in Scouts

(** PHOTO: hyakuhei, Flickr)



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