Phoenix Group

There’s no such thing as a ‘typical retirement’.


Everyone’s view of their future is different. Not everyone wants to, or can, retire in their mid-sixties, and the way they save will be influenced by the twists and turns their lives take. We brought Stan and Ann together for a conversation about their lives and futures and why neither feels they can retire at the typical age; watch their chat above to find out why.

There was a time when retirement meant closing one chapter – usually a stable, long-term career, and opening another – years of full-time leisure with your pension to see you through.

But things have changed. We’re living longer than previous generations and there’s a growing number of people past retirement age, most of whom will need to rely on their pension for decades.

This opens up a wealth of new opportunities, from extending a successful career to starting a new one.

We shouldn’t be forced to choose

You may reach your mid-sixties and still want to achieve more from your job. Or keep saving for a more comfortable retirement. Alternatively, like Stan, you may want to go back to work to help give your children a leg-up the property ladder.

Put simply, the traditional ‘working or retired’ stereotype is increasingly obsolete.

We’re living longer than previous generations, and increasingly want to use a number of these years to work full or part-time. Unfortunately, though, employment and support structures haven’t yet been adjusted to support this shift.

So, if you’re feeling that you aren’t prepared for a typical retirement , you’re most definitely not alone. What’s important is to start thinking about what you want from your longer life.

We need age-inclusive workplaces

Our research shows that there are 750,000+ over 50s in the UK who would like to work but aren’t. This represents a huge loss to the economy and prevents many from saving enough to meet their longer life goals.

Ann took control of her situation. When she was made redundant at 60, her family encouraged her to turn her passion into a living by setting-up her own photography business.

But for many people, age discrimination is a major barrier. We need to redesign the world of work for longer lives. Employers must be proactive in tackling age-bias in recruitment, enable flexible working, support staff with caring responsibilities and encourage career development and training for all.

We believe that being a great employer for people of all ages is the best way to attract top talent and support people through all life stages. We’re proud to be a founder signatory of the Centre for Ageing Better’s Age-Friendly Employer Pledge, we offer flexible working as standard, have age inclusive recruitment programmes and encourage colleagues to make career shifts to support changes in their circumstances and allow for better, longer working lives.

We need to talk about our longer lives

Everyone is different. You may want to continue working full or part-time, try your hand at something new, or even set-up your own business. Whatever your circumstances, it’s important to take control.

The traditional ‘learn, work, retire’ model won’t change overnight, but by being clear on your own priorities, commitments and resources you can start to map out a path for your longer life and how you can support those you care about.

Talk about it – with family and/or any pensions or savings providers you trust. Reach out to an organisation like the National Careers Service for guidance. And why not check your employer’s policies against age discrimination?

If, like us you think this is a subject we need to get out into the open, please join the conversation using #LivingLonger.

Let’s talk

Today’s headlines always give people plenty to talk about, from climate change to the cost of living and everything in between. But there’s an important exception: living longer and what that means for our futures. As 1 in 3 children born today have a good chance of living to 100, we think this needs to change.

As the UK’s largest long-term savings and retirement business, we’re committed to closing the pensions savings gap and driving the transformation required to make better, longer lives a reality. We’re starting by inspiring conversations about making the most of living longer.

Start your conversation here.

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