Preparing for the emotional upheaval of retirement

Retirement is one of the top three emotional upheavals in people’s lives and needs to be planned for, according to a new survey, which finds many retirees take up voluntary or part-time jobs afterwards for financial reasons, to give back or meet new people.

older couple sit on the sofa with a laptop and calculator


Retirement ranks in the top three of the most emotionally impactful times in people’s lives after having children and getting married and many who retire end up taking up a part-time role or volunteering afterwards, according to a new survey.

The survey of 2,000 people aged 55 to 75 by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme found that, although the majority (62%) enter retirement feeling happy, almost a quarter (24%) rank retirement as a point in their life that had a big impact on them emotionally.

Some found the transition to retirement worse than they expected, due to boredom (40%) or finding the lack of structure (38%) and amount of time spent at home (38%) difficult. Of those who found the transition worse than expected, women (50%) were almost twice as likely to cite loneliness compared to men (28%).

Despite the majority having felt positive entering retirement, almost a quarter (23%) chose to take up a part-time role or volunteering after retiring from full-time work. When asked why, some cited feelings of wanting to ‘give something back’ and having the opportunity to meet new people, while others said they were struggling for money.

John Sergeant, journalist and broadcaster, said: “Retirement can be difficult to prepare for, as it almost creeps up on you. For me, it was important to avoid a “big bang” moment, with the shock of going straight from full-time work to retirement. The key thing is to keep busy, try new things and do your best to tick off your ‘one day I’ll do that…’ list.”

Most retirees suggested planning early is the key to a successful transition to retirement. Almost two-thirds of retirees (63%) recommend planning your finances early, while just under half (45%) recommend being prepared to change your lifestyle and over a third (36%) recommended taking up new hobbies.

The research is part of a new campaign launched by FSCS to highlight the challenges people face as they transition to retirement, and the importance of checking new and existing pensions and investments are FSCS-protected.

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