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Over 50s regret retiring

26th April 2017 Print

Suggestions that the retirement age should be increased is often met with fierce opposition, with more change coming as from 2019 the state pension age starts to rise to age 66 for men and women by 2020.

However, the reality is that most retired people think they gave up work too early.

Over 50s insurance experts SunLife have surveyed 50,000 people age 50+ in the biggest-ever research project into this age group.

The study found that 85% of retired people over 50 think they retired too early, rising to 88% of those who are now aged 70+. On average, those that are retired or semi-retired think they did so two and a half years too early. Those aged 70+ think they retired three years too early.  Less than 10% think they retired too late and just 5% they got the timing right.

SunLife’s research also shows that a fifth of retirees are earning money in other ways. Thousands of people who retired from their main job have gone on to start their own business, while 18% earn money by doing things like selling items on ebay, renting out property, private tutoring, exam invigilating and working for the elections office. Others are using their skills to make crafts and cakes to sell while others even model for art classes!

Ian Atkinson, marketing director at SunLife said: “Our research shows that people aged 50 and over feel 10 years younger mentally and almost four years younger physically, so, far from being ‘over the hill’, people in their 50s, 60s and 70s are feeling fit, healthy and sharp, which could explain why so many feel they gave up work too early and why so many are starting new careers.”

“Many people in their 50s, 60s and 70s have made big changes in their work lives, by either dropping to part time, or giving up stressful careers to do something they are more passionate about. Far from being the end of working life, for many, turning 50 actually offers a brand new start.”

One respondent switched her high-powered, high-paid job to work locally and it has changed her life for the better. The 53-year-old said: “By leaving a very stressful job where I had to travel all over England I am now working part time in the local coffee shop in my village and couldn't be happier. I earn a great deal less, but I am near home and my ageing father for emergencies. I don’t waste any time or money commuting, and feel quite happy.

It's a cliché, but I do think that I know myself better, and am better at saying 'no' to things, whether it is an invitation that I don't fancy or being asked to do something I don't want to do. I am even better at complaining to a shop or service.”

Ian Atkinson concluded: “The theme that runs through our Big 50 report is that age is just a number.  People over 50 certainly don’t feel old and are not prepared to stop doing what they want to do just because of their age.

“By conducting the largest ever survey into this age group, we have gained huge insight into life after 50, enabling us, more than any other insurance company, to understand what people  in their 50s, 60s and 70s really want and value.”