'We've never had it so good' - new generation of 'GoAPs' enjoying socialising, spontaneity and passion

Article date: 2 October 2009

  • First year of retirement is best year of life yet but also most expensive

Romance and socialising have replaced bird-watching and bowls as a new generation of "GoAPs" rips up the rule book on retirement – the first year post-work is the best year yet, according to a new study.

The "Retirement Reality" study from Aviva reveals a picture of the first year of retirement that bucks traditional OAP stereotypes. Today’s new GoAPs (Go-getting Active Pensioners):

  • Have on average eight social engagements a week, spending £2,256 a year on going out
  • Say romance is a top priority - relationships have never been so good (67%)
  • Describe the first year post-work as "brilliant" and "exciting" (66%) and the best year yet (72%)
  • Say society won’t consider them "old" before at least 68 so look forward to enjoying themselves for years

Twenty years ago, they believed they would spend retirement babysitting for their grandchildren (30%), gardening (29%) and reading (29%). But today’s GoAPs are taking up photography (25%), going out with friends (36%) and have a "things to do before I die" list that includes attending a music festival, driving a Ferrari and dating someone younger.

Not being a slave to the alarm clock (52%), being spontaneous (49%) and feeling less stressed (48%) are the best aspects of retirement, according to the GoAPs who also say their partners have become far more romantic (52%).

The positive-thinking GoAPs now see retirement as a second stage of life rather than the end (85%) with the majority of new retirees having a long list of hopes and ambitions to fulfil (86%).

The 2009 "things to do before I die list":

  1. Visiting some of the Seven Wonders of the World (47%)
  2. Learning a new language (23%)
  3. Touring Europe in a camper van / motor home (22%)
  4. Going out with a younger man / woman (12%)
  5. Driving a Ferrari (11%)
  6. Starting their own business (11%)
  7. Learning to play a musical instrument (11%)
  8. Sky diving (9%)
  9. Going to a music festival (9%)
  10. Learning to surf (7%)

Older and wiser, today’s GoAPs have a different attitude to retirement now they’ve started enjoying it. If they could go back in time would give their younger selves the following pieces of advice:

  • Save more (47%)
  • Start saving into a pension (41%)
  • Look forward to retirement rather than dread it (24%)
  • Budget better during their first year of retirement (20%)
  • Retire earlier (21%)

One in five (19%) also said they would advise their younger selves to be better prepared for the first year of retirement. The research was commissioned by Aviva to support its latest advertising campaign, which will debut on 4 October 2009. The campaign will encourage "30 somethings" to reconsider their views of retirement and think more seriously about financial planning for this stage in their lives.

Paul Goodwin, head of pensions at Aviva, said: “The first years of retirement can be the most exciting of your life but in order to enjoy them it’s important to have the right financial plans in place, as our study also found that they can also be the most expensive.***

“Nearly a quarter (23%) of new retirees told us they struggled to budget after being used to a regular salary and nearly half (41%) said they wished they’d started saving into a pension sooner. We also know that many find retirement planning complicated.

“It’s clear from this research that younger people should see retirement as something to look forward to rather than dread, but to make the most of this time in life it’s vital to be prepared financially. The earlier people start saving towards a pension the more money they’ll have to make the most of their retirement years.”

For a demonstration of the Aviva Pension Tracker, a secure online tool to help people plan and control their pension more easily, go to www.aviva.co.uk/controlyourpension. The tracker enables pensions savers to see what their pension is worth today and when they retire, and offers tips and tools to budget for retirement.


For further information: 

Lexis Public Relations
Amy Funston
Telephone: 0207 908 6433 
E-mail: afunston@lexispr.com

Carly Mahoney
Telephone: 0207 908 6477 
E-mail: cmahoney@lexispr.com

Notes to editors:

* Aviva commissioned research with Redshift amongst 1,000 people who have retired in the past two years, between 7-14 September 2009.

** Retirees surveyed said they are spending an average of £187.90 every month socialising with friends.

*** 29% of respondents said the most expensive year of their life was the year they bought their first home and 26% said the most expensive year of their life was the first year of retirement.

About Aviva
Aviva is one of the UK’s biggest life insurers. It is the world’s fifth largest insurance group, operating in 28 countries, and one of the leading providers of life and pension products in Europe. 

In the UK, It is a leading provider of life, pensions and investment products and one of the largest Financial Adviser (FA) providers. FAs provide over 70% of the company's long-term savings business in the UK.

Aviva has strategic alliances with building societies and other leading UK brand names including CIS and The Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Aviva’s news releases and a selection of images are available from our on-line media centre at www.aviva.com/media

On the 1 June 2009 Aviva became the new name for Norwich Union. Aviva is now the customer brand worldwide, enabling the company to compete even more effectively on a global scale for the benefit of customers, staff, business partners and shareholders.

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