Flexi-retirement: What’s it really like?

three women hiking

Wading into the unknown can feel scary. We spoke to Richard and Annette on why they chose to flexi-retire, how they’ve found it since, and what advice they’d give to anyone else considering it.

Richard’s story

Richard worked as a facilities manager for Natwest Group for 41 years. Since flexi-retiring, he works part-time as a Customer Services Merchandiser at Majestic Wine.


Part-time work not only tops up my income, it stops me getting bored!

What made you choose to flexi-retire?

I’d been thinking about retiring since I turned 50. I went straight into full-time work after leaving school at 16, so the idea of having a break was pretty appealing!

I wanted the freedom to enjoy long weekends, but to keep meeting new people and have new conversations day-to-day too. I thought I’d get bored if I retired full-time. Plus, I needed to top up the income from my pension.

What type of pension did you take?

I have a workplace pension that I paid into as part of my salary. I chose to take a final salary payment rather than a lump sum. It gives me an annual income that’s equivalent to two thirds of my final salary.

I don’t feel entirely secure as my pension isn’t inflation-proof and can only grow so much over time. However, I was aware of that before retiring and knew I’d need to subsidise my pension with a part-time job.

Did you take advice when planning your flexi-retirement?

Once I’d decided to take a final pension salary, I didn’t really need to plan anything. My friends who chose lump sum payments did speak to financial advisors: the process was pretty rigorous, with advisors needing to ensure any decision was fully informed.

Does your new role suit you?

The hours are really flexible as I only work Tuesday to Thursday. I have less responsibility, but it means I get that extra income to make up the difference between my pension and what I was earning full-time.

What are the main benefits to flexi-retirement?

Having more time to do the things I enjoy, like cycling and motorbiking. And being able to prioritise my health.

Has anything surprised you?

Some days I actually miss having more responsibilities! But I recognise that’s part and parcel of a part-time role. It’s a small sacrifice to make for the many other benefits.

How has it affected your friends and family?

They’re probably wishing I’d go back to work full-time! Joking aside, we do now get to have long weekends away together.

What advice would you give someone considering flexi-retirement?

Most people have worked 5+ days a week, above and beyond their contractual hours, throughout their life. Once you stop working, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands. You need to plan what you’re going to do with it. Consider your mental health away from the work environment. 

You also need to assess your financial situation. You can’t go travelling the world if you don’t have a massive pension. That’s where flexi-retirement and part-time work can offer a bit more security. 

Annette's story

Annette has worked in the healthcare sector, primarily the emergency services, for 36 years. Since flexi-retiring, she works part-time as an assistant practitioner for a local hospice.


I feel time-rich, I can do life at a steady pace

What made you choose to flexi-retire?

I really wanted more time, both for myself and to spend with family and friends. I started thinking about retirement after my 59th birthday. I chose to do it flexibly as I didn’t want to give up socialising with colleagues. 

What type of pension did you take? 

I have an NHS workplace pension. I took a lump sum payment, so I feel financially secure.

Did you take any advice when planning your flexi-retirement?

I instigated the conversation with my employer and they were really supportive. The NHS pensions team gave me information on pension freedoms and flexi-retirement, and I spoke with a financial advisor too. 

Does your new role suit you?

Now I feel time-rich! Also, the extra income enables me to have the same standard of living as when I was working full-time.

What are the main benefits to flexi-retirement?

I’ve got more time for myself and to spend with my little grandson. I’ve bought an Art Pass to visit local galleries and museums. I feel I can take life at a steadier pace. 

Has anything surprised you?

How much I’m enjoying it! I wish I’d done it sooner.

How has it affected your friends and family?

Positively, I hope! I certainly have more quality time available to spend with them. 

What advice would you give someone considering flexi-retirement?

Make sure you take financial advice. Consider all the options and do the maths before you make the final decision. Overall, I would definitely recommend it!

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