Retirement bliss with the ultimate bucket list
We surveyed thousands of people to find out which retirement experiences people are planning for*. Did your dream make the list?
Retirement should be the opportunity of a lifetime. With – hopefully – more free time on your hands, there are thousands of hobbies, pastimes and exciting experiences you'll be able to enjoy.
By Dee Pilgrim
Having worked hard all your life, the thought of being able to do exactly what you please when you retire is irresistible. Although more than a third of people surveyed saw retirement as a time to have fun and relax more, others said they can't wait to get started on new and exciting ventures.
Unsurprisingly, one of the top things people want to do when they retire is to go out and explore far flung places they may not have been to before. This urge to travel in the future is even more understandable in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, when the chance even to go on our usual holidays abroad was extremely limited.
Travel was the most selected thing (41%) on our survey respondents' bucket list, with cruises and round the world trips proving very popular (23% and 20%). Many people listed journeying to see specific sights, such as the Northern Lights (27%), the Great Wall of China and the Rocky Mountains in America (both on around 11%). Others want to go overseas in order to have specific experiences, such as whale watching (nearly 13%) or seeing the Ashes cricket series in Australia (6%).
If travelling is top of your bucket list, there are plenty of specialist travel companies offering tours and trips catering to the needs of older travellers. It's also important to check you have adequate insurance before you leave, to cover you if things don't go to plan.
Adventure and activities
While many people want to put their feet up and slow down in retirement, there are plenty of others dreaming of going on adventures and coming over all Indiana Jones.
Activities listed range from hot air ballooning and skydiving (8% and 6%), to swimming with dolphins and mountain climbing (nearly 12% and 6%). More than 4% have bungee jumping included on their list, while almost 5% plan to take up a new sporting hobby, showing it's never too late to get active.
Being adventurous can mean different things to different individuals and some people want to tackle new challenges and ventures when they retire, such as starting their own business (nearly 6%).The more unusual things people have plans for include getting a tattoo (5%), cosmetic surgery (4%) and learning a musical instrument (7%).
Make a meaningful lifestyle change
Approaching the end of your working life also gives you the opportunity to think about any lifestyle changes you might like to make. The survey showed many people are planning on making quite drastic changes to the way they live when they no longer have to work.
With the need to commute to the office a thing of the past, more than a quarter of respondents dream of moving to live near the sea and nearly 16% want to move abroad.
During lockdown, many people's relationship with the natural environment and engagement with green issues have become increasingly important, So it's little wonder that a fifth of respondents want to spend time gardening, own a vineyard (nearly 4%) or a small holding (7%), and nearly 7% want to build their own eco-home and/or live off the land. Impressive!
Retirement bucket list in full
|Travel||40.94%||Buy a sports car||7.22%|
|See the Northern Lights||27.29%||Go scuba diving / snorkelling||6.82%|
|Go on a cruise||23.26%||See the Ashes in Australia||6.03%|
|Go on a round the world trip||20.42%||Go sky diving / parachuting||5.93%|
|Go on a safari||17.68%||Start a business||5.78%|
|Nothing / Don't know||17.48%||Go on dates||5.73%|
|Go on a multi-generation family holiday||14.49%||Go mountain climbing||5.68%|
|Go to Disneyland / Disney World||13.99%||Join a club||5.58%|
|Drive route 66||13.50%||Renew wedding vows||5.53%|
|Go whale watching||12.75%||Get a tattoo||5.33%|
|Swim with dolphins||11.85%||Write memoirs||5.13%|
|Buy pets||11.60%||Join a gym||4.98%|
|See the Great Wall of China||11.30%||Go to Graceland||4.78%|
|See the Rocky Mountains||11.11%||Take up a sporting hobby||4.53%|
|Take up an artistic hobby||8.22%||Have cosmetic surgery||4.28%|
|Go hot air ballooning||8.12%||Do a bungee jump||4.23%|
|Own a small holding||7.42%||Buy a motorbike||4.13%|
|Learn a musical instrument||7.27%||Start further education||3.74%|
|Enjoy myself / have fun||37.95%||762|
|Spend time with family / friends||34.51%||693|
|Become financially secure||29.68%||569|
|Live near the sea||26.20%||526|
|Spend time gardening||20.87%||419|
|Spend time with grandchildren||19.37%||389|
|Buy a holiday home||16.93%||340|
|Buy a camper van / motor home||13.15%||264|
|Do home renovations||11.40%||229|
|Own a bungalow||10.16%||204|
|Build my own home||7.52%||151|
|Start a new business / sideline||6.77%||136|
|No particular changes||6.77%||136|
|Build my own eco-home / live off the land||6.62%||133|
|Become a landlord||5.68%||114|
|Own a vineyard||4.38%||88|
Counting the cost
Before you get started putting pen to paper on your very own bucket list, it's good to bear in mind that many of the activities are expensive, so you need to have some idea of what funds you will have at your disposal. However, the majority (three-quarters) of people who replied to the survey have not taken any financial advice about their retirement plans. Yet getting financial advice could help make some of your dreams a reality.
For help managing pensions and investments, Aviva Financial Advice offer a range of services and solutions to meet all your financial planning needs. There is no obligation to go ahead with financial advice and any charges will be explained up front by the adviser. It's not about how much you have, it's what you do with it that counts.
*Survey carried out by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva in July 2021.