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The UK’s grey volunteer army

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The winter Real Retirement report looks at how people spend their time once they finish full-time work. Amazingly, the over-65s put in 104 million hours of unpaid work each week. If these hours were paid, they would be worth an estimated £643.8million - disproving the myth that older people are a drain on society.

Time well spent in retirement

Almost half the over-55s say they want to give back to the community in retirement, with 46% interested in volunteering to help others. Fundraising, working in charity shops and meals on wheels came top of the list. But charity begins at home, with 50% expecting to help their families with – for example – occasional baby-sitting or child minding.

The report also shows that more people are working longer, with 23% of 65-74s in paid employment. That’s 5% more than two years ago. And 30% say that once they reach retirement age, they expect to carry on working part time.

Work hard, play hard

It’s not all work and no play. With 10.4 million over-65s in the UK and retirees typically spending 10 hours a week helping others, there’s plenty of leisure time left over. But what to do with it? The report reveals that 44% of over-55s plan to travel more and 42% look forward to gardening. Spending time with the people in their lives is important too: 37% want to spend more time with family and 33% with friends.

Time to say thank you

Now’s the perfect time to say thank you for the support the UK’s retirees give to their families and the wider community.After everything they’ve done throughout the year, they deserve it.

Plan to enjoy retirement

Whatever people want to do in retirement - for themselves or others - they stand a better chance of having the financial freedom to do it by planning for retirement.

Making the right retirement choices can make a big difference to retirement income, so talking to a financial adviser is time well spent. Researching websites, like this one, can also help people to make the most of the money they’ve saved for retirement. 

It’s clear from the report that today's retirees are generous with their time. But they also need to take time for themselves to make sure retirement is everything they want it to be.

Clive Bolton, managing director of the At Retirement business at Aviva comments:

“For many people retirement is a phased exercise, whereby they stop working full-time and move to part-time employment while enjoying other activities.  Volunteering is popular and older age groups provide invaluable support to many charitable causes.  However, to ensure you are able to make the choices you want to when you reach 65, you do need to carefully plan your retirement to ensure your own financial arrangements provide you with the flexibility of choice.”

Read the full report (PDF 459KB).


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