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Sixty is the new 40 for retiring baby boomers in the UK


The UK is witnessing the march of a new type of retiree as the first post-war ‘baby boomers’ pass the old Default Retirement Age of 65. According to Aviva’s latest Real Retirement Report, more than one in three (39 percent) over-55s are continuing to receive a wage and nearly half are intent on using their extra earnings to travel more when they finish full-time work.

Data from the latest census in 2011 showed there were 754,800 people aged 64 in England and Wales, and almost 6.5 million people are turning 65 over the next decade compared with 5.2 million in the previous decade. The spike is due to the post-war birth rate soaring when the armed forces returned from the Second World War, with the newborn generation dubbed the ‘baby boomers’.


Working hard to increase their wealth

Allied with improved healthcare, more people are remaining active as they approach retirement age, and the latest Aviva report shows how they are pushing back the boundaries at work and in their leisure time. One in four (23 percent) 65- to 74-year-olds were still wage earners in December 2012, compared with 18 percent when the report first launched almost three years ago in February 2010.

With 55 percent of 55- to 64-year-olds doing the same, compared with 41 percent in February 2010, this trend looks set to continue as more baby boomers pass the age of 65. It has already fuelled the rise of income and savings among over-55s during the last three years. The typical over-55 now has an income of £1,444 (US$2,151.69) each month along with £14,544 (US$21,671.88) in savings (December 2012), compared with a monthly income of £1,239 (US$1,846.22) and savings of £11,590 (US$17,270.15) in February 2010.

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When the old spark has gone

Couples find it impossible to live with each other during retirement, according to a study done by Skipton Building Society in the UK. The study of 660 retired people still in relationships also showed many find their old spark has gone after giving up work.

Instead of celebrating their newfound freedom together, a massive 80 percent of respondents found they don’t share any of the same hobbies and interests, while one in five bickered about the lack of money.

Four in 10 of the older people polled also admitted they needed to learn how to live with each other again now that the children have left the nest and they are no longer committed to work.

The study also indicated one-third of retirees spend much of their time arguing about silly things with the other half, and a surprisingly 13 percent admitted they “irritate each other beyond belief”.

A further 29 percent were surprised to find they didn’t have the same expectations for their ‘golden years’.

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Over 55s in the UK still working

Over half of over 55s in the UK are still working – because they don’t feel sufficiently secure to think about early retirement, research done by UK’s Skipton Building Society has revealed. The study found that despite the approach of their golden years, an alarmingly large percentage cannot yet see the light at the end of the tunnel.

The report revealed that although two-thirds stopped working full-time in their long-term career by the age of 55, most have merely reduced their hours or taken on part-time work. It also emerged the most common ‘late career’ choices are cleaning, stacking shelves in a supermarket, cashier work or doing the accounts for local businesses.

Unfortunately, seven out of 10 of those polled said they were worried they would struggle to get by during retirement without working. As well as the financial implications of giving up work altogether, 55 percent of adults with parents aged 55+ believe they work to stave off boredom.

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UK survey reveals families feel burdened by older relatives

British families admit they feel burdened by older relatives including at Christmas, research conducted by Friends of the Elderly (FotE), has revealed. Despite 87 percent of people feeling it is the responsibility of family to look after older relatives, worries about the financial burden (19 percent), being too busy (45 percent) and living too far away (36 percent) mean that families can’t take the strain.

In fact, almost half of those surveyed (47 percent) are dreading the day their grandparents or parents need to be cared for.

A reluctance to spend time with older relatives was shown to be particularly poignant at Christmas, with 23 percent of people saying they have older relatives who are likely to spend Christmas alone.

However, only 32 percent of people plan to invite them over for Christmas, with the greatest reason for not inviting older relatives due to concerns about frailty (18 percent).

A problem not confined to Christmas, the survey of 2,000 adults, conducted by FotE, found that while 31 percent would be happy to check in on ageing family members and visit regularly, they wouldn’t want them to move in with them.

Richard Furze, chief executive of FotE, said: ‘‘We can all make a special effort at Christmas and it will make such a difference, not just with our relatives but with older people in our communities.”

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Living in isolation

There are one million people over 65 living lonely and isolated lives in the UK. Over half a million older people will spend Christmas day alone, according to Friends of the Elderly (FotE), a charity dedicated to supporting older people. The group aspires to a society where all older people are treated with respect and have the opportunity to live fulfilled lives.

Richard Furze, chief executive of FotE, said “The effects of isolation on older people – including loneliness, depression, feelings of low self-worth, poor health and diet – can be devastating, with isolated individuals being less likely to obtain the services they need or seek help. We understand that people are incredibly busy today, and especially at Christmas, but we urge people to get more involved with the older people around them – and not just at Christmas.

Small things such as simply checking in on an older neighbour regularly, popping a card through their door or having a chat with an older person at the shops is enjoyable for both young and older people, only takes a moment and can make a real difference. Rather than leave it to the few, if we all do a little bit then a lot will get done!”

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