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Life in retirement - pensioners in Dorset thoroughly endorse it

12th September 2014 Print

Dorset is the best place in England and Wales to retire, according to new analysis from Prudential. Pensioners in the county enjoy the highest quality of life based on a new quality of retirement index that has been developed by the insurer using a selection of publicly available ONS data.

The new index ranks the local authority areas within England and Wales, based on a score calculated using Prudential’s set of core quality of retirement indicators – including good health, home ownership, marital status, and propensity to travel among the over 65s, as well as the percentage of the population providing ongoing unpaid care.  

Topping Prudential’s quality of retirement index, Dorset was ranked in the top 10 per cent of all English and Welsh local authority areas for three of the core indicators – good health, property ownership and marriage. It was also significantly above average for retirees’ propensity to travel (indicated by the percentage of pensioners who hold a passport), and has a higher than average percentage of people who provide ongoing unpaid care. Dorset’s overall quality of retirement index score is 46 out of a possible 50.

The second highest ranked retirement location was Solihull, scoring 44 out of 50. Joint third were Buckinghamshire, North Somerset and the Vale of Glamorgan with 42.

Wokingham, Hampshire, Monmouthshire, Poole and South Gloucestershire tied for sixth place with a retirement index score of 41 out of 50. This means that the South West of England holds four of the top ten ranking areas.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “Our analysis clearly shows that the quality of life experienced by retirees varies significantly across the country. However, it is not always possible for people to up sticks and move to a location they consider to be more desirable, when the time comes to give up work. Family ties and the cost of moving home often dictate where people find themselves living as pensioners.

“People looking to secure a retirement in an area where the quality of life is already high, or those simply looking to be as financially comfortable as possible when they give up work, are well advised to follow the simple rule of saving as much as possible as early as possible in their working lives.  

“The decisions that retirees are faced with can be the biggest they will ever have to make. To take best advantage of the newly introduced flexible retirement income choices, professional financial advice should form a vital part of preparation for retirement.” 

This new analysis backs up previous research from Prudential which revealed that Dorset has one of the highest retirement populations in the country. The county is home to three of the top 10 hotspots for pensioners, including the UK’s unofficial capital of retirement – the historic town of Christchurch.