What do people do in retirement?

I am taking a break from the Budget pieces today. I am inviting views on retirement.

Some people eagerly await retirement. They seek early retirement. They like the idea that they no longer will have to rise early and get to the office, shop or factory.

Others fear retirement. They fear they will miss the company of colleagues at work, the routine, the sense of achievement – and the income that comes from it. They are trying to extend their time in a job.

Both groups face the same problems when they do decide to retire, or when their employment is terminated for them. They have to find ways of spending the time agreeably and usefully, within the budgets that their pension permits. There seem to be four broad approaches.

Some choose to travel and visit to the full extent that their budgets allow. They go on cruises, coach trips or mini bus outings. They visit old buildings, take trips to entertainments, see countries they had not seen before.

Some take up a new leisure activity. They become leading members of the golf or bowls club, join a book circle or learn a craft at an FE College.

Some seek surrogate work. They often end up doing something similar to what they did when in full time employment. Sometimes they are paid modestly, sometimes they do it for free for a charity or local association .

Some do very little. They end up occupying themselves with the daily chores, and lots of tv, newspaper reading and the like.

Many of course mix up parts of all these approaches.

Do you think there is a right answer to what to do in retirement? Have you retired yourself, and how do you spend the time? Do you want to retire early? If so why?

PS I am not planning to retire early myself.

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76 Comments

  1. Julian
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I am not planning to retire. Numerically, I am lot nearer to “retirement age” than I am to the time I started work. I currently have three more careers in mind that I hope I will be able to pursue indefinitely.

    I do not fear retirement but I see no reason not to carry on providing a service to others. To do this for remuneration rather than just helping when asked seems to me that it will provide a structure and purpose. I will continue with the time I put into voluntary work but I don’t mind if the balance between this and paid work shifts a bit.

    My brother is looking forward to retiring as soon as he can. He wants to do nothing but potter about. I cannot think of anything worse.

  2. Brian Taylor
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    I was born in 1946 with a Club Foot(not severe) although it needed several operations when I should have been at school,I left school in 1961aged 15 with no qualifications,I had 3 jobs in retail before going into sales as a company representative the last 35 years selling Industrial Paint to Industry.
    Although retired in 2012 I still work with some old customers and a couple of manufacturers for small fees
    Due to takeovers in the industry,my pension,some of which for a few years was A Final Salary Scheme did not produce as expected,and with the old age pension both together is less than £15000 per year.
    Our daughter in law own a Letting And Estate agents in the local market Town,my wife help with the books and I put up signs,do viewings and sometimes cover the office.
    My wife’s pension is about half mine,I have project managed the building of four of our homes over the last 40 years, and would do so again if I could borrow the capital to build without selling this house(which is mortgage free) but on a pension no bank will lend to me even with no mortgage.
    We enjoy holidays and take short breaks in this country coming to London for shows and we had a tour of Westminster very interesting.
    As we are on the edge of fuel poverty I am greatly exercised by the cost of fuel and the stupid targets that go with the 2008 Climate Change Act.
    We feel happy with the mix of part time work for family and to be honest the only thing that really worry me is keeping our Health.
    That of course do not mean I am happy with the way this country is run and the money that is wasted!!!

  3. Peter van Leeuwen
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Retirement is an excellent time to spend time for charities, engage in new hobbies, spend more time with family and friends, go out in nature and stay fit and even react occasionally to a blog and add some nuances.

    • libertarian
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

      A lot of us do all of that now, while we are still working full time.

      What do I expect to do when I retire? Probably work in B&Q or Macdonalds so that I can pay for gas and electricity taxes, to keep pumping money into the bottomless well of the EU and because the state can’t afford to pay me the pension I paid into for 50 plus years because they squandered it on overseas aid and pork barrel projects

      • Peter van Leeuwen
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: Unless in Britain the rich pay much less tax than the poor, you’tr unlikely to pay more than 1% of your income towards the EU and then only until your referendum, after which you all may be “free” again. 🙂

  4. Old Albion
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    John, i retired early. I was actually made redundant, but thanks to generous terms and a very good final salary pension scheme (remember them?) I was sure i could get by without further paid employment (my wife continued to work part-time and still does ten years on)
    I was delighted to cease employment. I had worked continuously from the age of sixteen for nearly forty years. losing only three weeks work in that time, due to a previous redundancy.
    I have been in engineering all my working life and used that as a base for my retirement hobby of vehicle restoration.
    Additionally, we moved home and i spent many, many months renovating our old property.
    I have loved retirement. I have been fortunate to be able to do so through paying in to a well run good quality pension scheme, something few ‘working class’ people now have the opportunity to embrace.
    Others in my position will understand when i say ” i don’t know how i ever had time for work”

  5. David Price
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I was forced in to very early “retirement”, well before normal retirement age, when my employment was terminated. However I had been planning a change of pace for a number of years beforehand and we had been living at the lower level of income I expected if I did make the change. As a result we were able to carry on our normal life even though the job was gone, with no reliance on the state or anyone. I had already paid off the mortgage and made provision for my children’s education so we had no debts.

    I avoid sitting down to watch TV or read a newspaper like the plague. People don’t suddenly lose their brains, sense of adventure or level fitness when they retire yet if you were to believe the conventional view everyone immediately becomes decrepit and automatically wants to take up art or embroidery when they stop conventional working.

    I don’t see myself as retired, I have simply stopped working for someone else and work at what I want to do rather than what others dictate or demand. I do a mixture of mental, physical and social activities together with some voluntary work and some business activity. Compared to when I was formally employed I do far more sports activties and spend more time on interesting projects and learning activities. The internet provides free access to so much engineering, science material and educational material you’d be surprised what people can achieve once they stop relying on their employers and others for things.

    Retirement is just another career and if you plan and prepare properly it is far less stressful and far more fulfilling than conventional employment.

  6. lifelogic
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    I do not mind what people do so long as they do not expect others to pay for it.

    Personally I shall keep working while enjoying myself too. This as I enjoy working and have the sort of job I should still be able to do in old age. I will just delegate more of the bits I do not like. I shall continue to see it as my moral duty to manage my investments well, and prevent (as far as legally possible) them from being stolen and wasted by the state sector. Mr Morally Repugnant, the IHT ratter will be kept well away. I will also try to pass them on to people whom, I think, will do the same.

    New technology makes this more and more possible wherever you are in the world. Hopefully we we see technology crack the energy, food, health and many other problems and the doom mongers and socialist with be proved wrong yet again. Not that that will ever stop them it is just in there genes. The optimists are usually right in the end – they still die though.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

      Just try not to leave it all too late. Do the things you want to do while you can and while you are fit enough to enjoy them to the full. This seems to be good advice for many, in my experience who alas left it too late.

      You cannot take your money with you, after all and it certainly won’t make you immortal or even happy in old age. Almost any expenditure is better than giving 40% IHT to Osborne and Cameron to waste on windfarms, the EU and the feckless – so do things now or give it away to good well managed causes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted April 1, 2013 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Of course the system in the UK is saying:- spend all yourmoney or give it away to you children. Sell your house to you children and rent it back of them from benefits.

      That way everyone else pays for your old age. Your children can buy you a cruise or two in return. It is the system than encourages fecklessness at every level, the systems is the problem.

  7. Mike Stallard
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    First of all – Happy Easter! And thank you for a lovely blog which brings me pleasure and forces me to adjust my thinking cap every morning! Much appreciated, I can tell you!

    I have been retired for about 10 years really. I do a mixture of all your four things. At the end of my career, I was a teacher, working in an appalling school which, along with half the staff (yes) I was thrown out of! So I don’t really miss that.

    Now I can sit and think what needs doing. I teach immigrants English and have done so ever since the first Poles appeared. People still come to the lessons and now I work with another retired teacher. It is seriously rewarding volunteer work.

    I make lots of models – so far I have made an entire set of Polish railway engines (Modelik), and almost all the Artesania Latina model boats.

    I am learning the guitar too – and realise I have no talent at all.

    And I plan a lot of lessons for people. It is like playing a really good computer game.

    I think that is everything.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    You omit absolutely the most important factor which is that it depends on what one is doing en route retirement. Some jobs are easy and enjoyable and satisfying and hopefully without a dreadful commute in to London. A management role can sometimes (not always) be a walk in the park because often it involves doing next to nothing except the odd decision or three and even then if you are lucky said decisions consist of nothing more than choosing between written submissions by subordinates so that the job can scarcely be thought of as work at all. And of course such effort as is involved is indoors in the warm and dry and in one’s dreams with a pretty secretary. Need I say more? The other end of the scale, on a production line (as in my University vacs long ago) or manual work outside are such as it is hard to believe that anyone would voluntarily want to continue with them. There are also marital considerations–it is not hard to imagine that when daddy bear all of a sudden is home all day under mummy bear’s feet, cracks start to appear in what was formerly an equilibrium of relative happiness.

  9. stred
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Those of us who relied on a private pension are not able to retire in the way that you describe. We do increasing houshold jobs, as we cannot afford tradesmen. We have to manage and repair property producing a supplementary income above the pathetic OAP, and any increase to a less pathetic £140 will not be paid. Retired tradesmen take part time work. Firms such as Band Q take on workers in their 70s.

    The phrase ‘pressure of retirement’ is increasingly use when deciding not to take a holiday. It keeps us lively, but the joints ache increasingly.

  10. alan jutson
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    The short answer is to do as you wish if you are fortunate enough to be able to choose.

    I chose to retire a few years earlier than the government standard retirement age, because having run my own business for 30 years I found that the rewards were no longer worth the huge effort, worry or risk, thus I planned a slow wind down over a few years, whilst there was still money in the Bank (the Company which was small, had no borrowings, so I was not at anyone else’s beck and call)
    That decision has been proved correct as I have seen many other businesses struggle to survive, or indeed go under during the past couple of years due to the economic situation, with many owners being made Bankrupt at 55-60 years or more, when there is little chance of any financial recovery.

    I thought I had planned well financially for my retirement, but unfortunately lost out big time with the Equitable Life fiasco, when a Guaranted Annuity turned out not to be guaranteed, and is now worth less than one third of the original return, which has cost me very, very substantially.
    The government compensation scheme being a rather sick joke in my case with compensation of just £535.

    Fortunately I did not have all my financial eggs in one basket, so am not destitute, but certainly not as comfortable as was planned.
    Nevertheless I think I am in good health (who knows) which is the most important element in my view for enjoyment in retirement.

    For the last 24 years I have been a member of a large voluntary Charitable organisation (Lions Club) and I will continue to be involved as before, in both fundraising and community service.

    My wife is due to retire next month, and we plan, as many do, to go travelling, to join the National Trust, to do and enjoy some walking, and to visit and host more often friends and family.

    Like many others I also have projects at home to complete, and these will be done in due course.
    My Daughters also have homes of their own, and Dad will often be on call to fix, repair or build things.

    I now also have more time to comment on this site !

    We have completed our financial calculations, and with the pensions we get, and with raiding our savings each year to suppliment our spending, we should be just about ok until our mid eighties, the two enemies are of course inflation of prices and services, and the lack of any decent return on our savings.

    So we may be in a situation where our money runs out well before we stop breathing. If it does then so be it, we can only hope for continuing good health.

    So for our part we look forward to retirement, and certainly a better one than my father had, who after a lifetime of hard work and ill health, passed away at 65.

  11. Bryan
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Best thing I ever did was retire – early

    Unlike some I enjoy doing nothing, the great advantage of which is that you never know when you are finished.

    Quality time with wife, golf, reading, the odd cruise, shouting at the biased BBC, and enjoying Mr R’s blog lead to a full and satisfying lifestyle.

    I thoroughly recommend it!

  12. Electro-Kevin
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    I fail to see how most in my generation are going to be able to retire – let alone early.

    It’s a good thing I like my job and the people I work with. I’ve been removed from social circles (eratic shifts and rest day patterns) for so long now that I doubt I’d fit in anyway.

    I have little faith in pensions – neither state nor private.

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      Faith in pensions.

      Pensions are just a tax wrapper (only slightly better than investing outside a tax wrapper alas now after Brown and Osborne’s thefts). But it is how the money is invested that counts. True the pension rules limit you somewhat for no good reasons, but still a useful tax deferment especially for higher rate taxpayers, who may be lower rate later. Not as good as EIS and Seed EIS tax breaks though.

      • Electro-Kevin
        Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Lifelogic.

        I have learned (counter to intuition) to live for today.

        Get the kids qualified well enough so they can quit the country too.

        Otherwise what is the point ?

  13. M Davis
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    ,,, Do you think there is a right answer to what to do in retirement? ,,,

    Absolutely not, to each his own.

    I’ve been retired for a long time and I am still looking after my family – once a Mother, always a Mother!

  14. Kevin R. Lohse
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    My experience of retirement is that you stay just as occupied, but no-one pays you anything for the work you do. I envy those who have skills or expert knowledge that allow them to top up their pensions. in my own case, I am a parish councillor, keep a few chickens and run a vegetable garden big enough to grow enough for all the year round. I’ve also started to learn a musical instrument. Peter was right.

  15. ChrisXP
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    There is no right answer, but I believe that sitting around with no hobbies or anything to occupy the mental processes is a sure way to lethargy and maybe an earlier death. My parents never lived long enough to collect their state pensions. My father in law had no hobbies at all, taking up something only in the last few years of his life.
    We ourselves have plenty of interests and often complain that we need to retire early, in order to have the time to enjoy them more fully.
    The only thing that concerns me is whether we will have sufficient income to pay our bills and have a little something over to enjoy our hobbies; I fear that after paying the souped-up energy bills that we now all face, hobbies and travel will be a luxury.

  16. A different Simon
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    John ,

    This isn’t funny . We will be too busy paying YOUR pension to retire ourselves .

    Only the 1 in 6 who work for the public sector can retire and you know it .

    Saga holidays will be entirely made up of public servants within the next couple of years .

    8 out of 10 private sector workers retire with pensions pots of less than £30,000 i.e. enough for an inflation linked pension of between £0 and £83 per month .

    A large proportion will be in debt .

    The 5 out of 6 who worked in the private sector will work until they can longer get it and then beg to be put on Liverpool care pathway .

    Are you ever going to address the issue of provision of pensions for the private sector or do you plan to keep dodging it ?

    How about we vote a government in which will steal your pensions like you have been stealing ours ?

    • lifelogic
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

      A great deal of truth in this. Pensions in the private sector are perhaps just 1/6-1/10 of those in the state sector. The private sector cannot often afford pensions, as each private sector worker (80% of workers) is often paying more in state sector pensions (for the mere 20% state sector workers) than they can into their own pathetic pensions.

      A true pensions apartheid, thanks to good old Gordon Brown and now continued, and augmented even, by George Osborne.

  17. A different Simon
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    This is one of the most insensitive articles you have published .

    I’ve got a feeling you know exactly the sort of response you will get to a let them eat cake article like this .

  18. Andyvan
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    From now on I suspect that a large number of them will be working, not because they want to but because they have to. I’ll be surprised if I ever have the choice to retire and if I ever did I’d be stuck in some godawful retirement flat overlooking a main road in some hideous town centre. Best I can hope for is that I drop dead in my tracks before I get feeble enough to be at the mercy of social services.

  19. Roger Farmer
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    What people do in retirement tends to be governed by their earlier life and how they balance work and relaxation. A major key is of course what they can afford to do, and both Government and the UK pension industry are culpable in limiting this through their collective greed.
    I was fortunate by design, in that I had my own company that took me all over the World meeting interesting people. This gave me a more balanced perspective on the relative merits of the UK. I also made enough time to fit in a host of activities that complimented work and family.
    I wondered about retirement because I had a desire to make it a positive experience. As it approached I became confirmed in my view that all the values that I had been brought up to respect, had since 1960 been systematically destroyed in the UK, and Government had taken an active role in their destruction. One could write a book on the stupidities perpetrated by UK Government. I would not have recognised the country that exists today when I left school in 1955.
    Add to this the indifferent climate which in my case exacerbated the asthma I suffered and my thoughts turned to the Spanish Mediterranean where I now live asthma free. I do not pretend that the politics are any better, in fact they are more overtly corrupt but much less intrusive in ones day to day life. There is no career structure for “Jobsworths” that I can detect, and if you suffer a burglary the Guardia are there within five minutes.
    I occupy my time with photography, cooking, and swimming half a kilometre a day from May to October. Lunch on the terrace is the centre of social activity, with the odd excursion to restaurants. I do what I can to contribute to the local Spanish economy. The only thing I miss is the traditional English pub which Government in so many ways has endeavoured to destroy.
    I have come to terms with the fact that I can no longer drive rally cars, fly sailplanes, rock climb or sail big boats at the level I once enjoyed, but one can dine out on the experiences. In two hours I’m off to a lunch party with friends. To those in the UK enjoying sunshine today, here it looks typical of the English Channel, but I would add that yesterday it was 25C and should be again tomorrow. Enjoy your weekend.

  20. Gewyne
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    My mum retired at 65, has a small private pension of around £320 pm and of course a state pension. She has worked all her life (not even taking time of to raise us (our gran was the eternal babysitter)). When she received her first state pension payment she was less than pleased to see that a deduction had been made of £140 due to the fact she had a private pension ! So she would have probably been better of putting nothing into her private pension (like many other people) especially seeing as her Pension value has declined a hell of a lot from the projections she was getting only several years ago.

    Then their is my Aunt – 4 years younger that my mum. She retired ages ago – at 55. Worked for the local council as a accountant (qualified through experience since she joined as a general clerk sometime in the 70’s), left on a final salary pension that’s x8 more than my mums. She lives a life my mum could only dream with weekend retreats, holidays daytrips, nice car… my mum seems unlikely to be able to afford another holiday for the rest of her days unless we take her – and we have barely enough money to get through month by month as it is.

  21. Acorn
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    You have got to have a reason to get up in the morning. Without it you are dead before your time. I have been partially retired since I was fifty, now at sixty six, still data mining and number crunching for pleasure.

    You do get to learn stuff you always wanted to, but never had time, and you get to watch / listen to great teachers like Warren Mosler.

  22. oldtimer
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Much will depend on your retirement income. In that respect I have been fortunate enough to be able to do things for fun and interest (making stuff for the grandchildren, travel, charitable work) as well do things part time to earn extra income. I am one of those for whom there are still not enough hours in the day to all the things I want to do or need to do – yesterday was spent on some off-road driving (of the light duty variety) which was a rare treat. It meant there was next to no time to spend on-line. I find the internet to be a very rich source of interest and information on every conceivable subject from the world of ideas to practical knowhow on the most mundane subjects. For the retired, it must be one of the most liberating developments of the past twenty years – nor need it cost a lot of money.

  23. ian wragg
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Well john its much the same as before.
    Still working albeit part time. Helping the wife in the shop when not at work and taking 3 holidays a year.
    With yours and Browns government debauching our currency, I don’t think I could maintain my lifestyle for long on the state pension and small works pension.
    What savings we have, probably 80% will be moved from cash to tangibles as its only a matter of time before a sterling crisis. 67plus and no end in site.

  24. Gary
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Retirement would have remained viable if we had sound money that appreciated in value over time. Now retirement is no longer going to be an option for many, instead it will mean the start of another career that is hopefully less stressful.

  25. Jon
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I’m not near retirement but am not looking at a date when I will retire. I don’t particularly like the idea of full retirement, I expect I will do different work and less of it and more other things.
    I think there needs to be a change in perception of some that they have a right to retire at other peoples expense.

  26. English Pensioner
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    The main thing about retirement is to think about what you want to do well in advance and to consider whether your pension will allow it. Consider whether you perhaps want to move house and if so plan to do it sooner rather than later and think about the facilities that you would like near your home, particularly if you become unable to drive. My parents decided to move when they were in their eighties when it became impractical for them to stay where they were, and most of the work involved fell on the family as at that age the DIY involved in moving and getting the new place to their liking was beyond them.
    In our case we decided to stay put as shops and a bus route are quite close and the cost of moving to a similar quality house, even if smaller, would have eaten into our savings. I simple terms, when we can’t drive any longer, the saving in stamp duty will cover quite a few taxi journeys to a local supermarket!
    But costs do rise for the elderly, more rapidly than the RPI as you find yourself having to pay for things to be done that at one time you would have done yourself. I’ll need to get someone to trim the boundary hedges and clean out the guttering as I no longer feel safe working on a ladder. You tend to feel colder and turn the heating up more in winter which of course costs more.
    Whilst we have some reasonable savings which we put aside for expensive holidays and maybe a new car, having done my personal accounts for the past year, it seem that it was the first time in the 16 years since I retired that I had to draw a little from my savings to make ends meet in our day-to-day living, which I put down largely to the rise in the costs of running a car and in particular to the rapid rise in the price of petrol.
    Both of us try to be reasonably active although my wife with osteoporosis has recently had to give up her weekly yoga, but she continues with her family history research which keeps her mentally active. My self, I am a bellringer at the local church, and today as almost every Sunday, I was there at 9:15 to ring for the main service. I go to practice 3 evenings a week at different towers, trying to help to teach some learners which gives me some necessary exercise. I dabble with computers and am an active member of our local computer club where we try to provide self-help for less experienced members.
    The only worry on the horizon is that both our daughters and their husbands talk from time to time about emigration and recently it is becoming more serious. All are well qualified and should have no problems in finding jobs; my younger daughter compares (by e-mail) the progress of our grandson in school here with that of her cousin’s child in Australia and feels that his future would be far better there. We wonder whether our savings would cover the cost of long haul flights to visit them, although with the present weather, wintering in Australia could be a great idea!

  27. Ian Har
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I am 67 and have been retired from the NHS for 5 years, so I retired early as soon as I felt I could afford to do so. If you work in a specialty where lives are at stake you have to do so before you cease to be competent; the thought of doctors working on into their late sixties and even seventies concerns me as competence declines slowly and its loss is initially difficult to detect.

    The suggestion that there might be a right answer to retirement living is frightening. People should do want they want and enjoy within the limits of what they can afford and physically manage. For me, physical decline is the one downside of retirement.

  28. uanime5
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Well ultimately what you do in retirement is dependent on your physical health, wealth, and how easy it is to get to somewhere looking for volunteers. I’m guessing what most people want to do in retirement is largely what they do whenever they take a holiday. Some people like to relax and some people like to do as many new things as possible.

    • Bazman
      Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

      Many in the North have faced forced retirement in their 50’s. They could compete with young East Europeans living five to a room/car and working in central London for minimum wage, but find the cut and thrust of such a career option to challenging and having teenage children living in the same room would be inconvenient and might effect their schooling, so choose to spend their retirement doing odd jobs and working on their allotments whilst scrounging off the state. They have found benefit cuts have really incentivised them to find new work, but the employers still do not want to take them on as much of the work is already being done by woman.

  29. Duyfken
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Since you have asked, I feel obliged to respond!

    Much of my time is spent at this computer reading blogs and the like. “The like” is now much reduced with the DT going behind the pay-wall, so I must cast around for something else (more healthy) to do. My other main activity in free time, after household and garden chores, is digital photography. This gets me out and about on shooting forays, but of course it brings me back to tinkering on the computer yet again, processing the products of my efforts in Photoshop. Not a very sociable existence.

    I know, I should do some volunteer work, go travelling abroad, join clubs and/or do something really useful. All of these may provide a sense of self-fulfilment, provide entertaining company and even help others, but wretch that I am it’s enough for me just to go down to the pub.

    My retirement was gradual. For many years I had an undistinguished career in the City, following which I became self-employed as a consultant (expert witness and arbitrator). That really was the tops and I thoroughly recommend a) working for oneself – no employer and no employees, b) being able to decide whether or not to accept any offered commission, c) working mainly from home, d) associating only with those one wishes to rather than being obliged to work for/with persons not always compatible, and e) deciding when and how to retire.

    Now pushing 80, all I can suggest to those nearing retirement, is do so only when in a position not to be worried about finance (but I do not always take my own advice).

  30. david englehart
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    i am 70 this year and you have very succinctly summed up why i will never retire.

  31. Mac
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    In retirement, whatever your lifestyle, it’s important to keep fit. I found this simple exercise on the Web and would like to pass it along.

    Begin by standing on a firm surface where you have plenty of room at each side.

    With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, slowly extend your arms until they’re straight out from your sides and hold them there for as long as you can. Do your best to hold for a full minute, and then relax.

    Each day you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a little longer and after a couple of weeks you should be able to move up to 10-lb potato bags.

    After a few weeks more, try it with 50-lb potato bags.

    Over time you’ll be surprised to find you can do this exercise with 100-lb potato bags!! (I’m at this level now.)

    Once you feel comfortable and confident at that level, put a potato in
    each bag……

  32. PPL
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    The £5billion PER YEAR theft of pension funds by Gordon Brown has compounded the catastrophic decline in fully paid pension funding in UK relegating what was the worlds best personal and group scheme funding status to second division levels. Politicians presided over this robbery and no party has the courage to reverse what is nothing less than institutionalised theft to be squandered by the perpetrators.

  33. Tony
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Retirement
    Those of us retiring in 10 years having worked in the private sector with no final salary pension just plundered private pensions are dreading it.
    Today’s retired have it made. Those of us yet to retire prey for an early death.

  34. Sue Doughty
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Technically I am prematurely retired and because I always knew I would be disabled I made arrangements for generous pensions and am not reliant on benefits – though the present government is very generous. Actually as a writer I can never really retire though the after effects of an attempted mugging have me on drugs that bar me from making decisions for a while.
    We are all of us only mortal and all of us will become less able to make a living as time goes by, so while I wallow in my cleverness in making sure I would be well enough off others seem to think their profligacy in earlier life is someone else’s fault. It wasn’t. From the cradle to the grave you must rely on yourself and your family to support you.
    What to do in retirement – do your homework, look, listen and learn, make your household more efficient, invest every penny you can lay hands on in wealth creation, job creation for the next generation and enjoy the income from it. This country is growing and needs investment to keep it going, like coal in the boiler. That is what to do with your resources when nobody wishes to pay for them – invest them in keeping others working.
    But then there is the solitude, the boredom and the idleness. Has anyone got a cure for those?

  35. Terry
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Well, I am retired. However, I am able to do very much because of lack of pension money. My wife is inn exactly the same boat.

    Having saved and paid for decades into my personal private pension (SIPP), I can say from much experience that it is no longer the right thing to do.
    All SIPP scheme payouts are aligned to the Gilt Yields and the succession of QE initiatives has driven the returns almost to the floor. At one time I received a pension payment of around 6% per annum based on the original 1.5 x Gilt Yield allowance. That was chopped down to parity by Osborne with no thought of compensation because of the reduced payout amount due to the ultra low interest rates. The payout due for year ending this month, represented just 2% of my fund total. It is so low that I did not bother to draw it. Thus depriving the Exchequer of their tax take from me.
    Pension funds are an easy target for inconsiderate desperado’s in the Treasury, so take my advice and stay well clear of them. You best bet is invest into max cash ISAs and overseas Bonds like Singapore, Qatar and Norway but NOT into a British held pension fund. Maybe then, you will have a better retirement that I am suffering right now. Bang goes that long cruise we were planning. Thank you George for wrecking our plans and note we will not forget this daylight raid on our planned retirements. Ever.

  36. Chris
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Your fourth choice seems to reflect the idle pensioner when in fact it is the poorest pensioner who cannot afford to do anything else but stay in and potter around and with the cost of things going through the roof more will fall into that category

  37. Chris
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Pensioners stay home because they cannot afford to do anything else on their pittance of a state pension

  38. Bert Young
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I sold my consultancy business in ’87 , stayed on the Board for one year and then “retired” . I was , already, the Non-Exec Chairman of a Software Group , on the Governing Body of a major sports organisation , and , a Member of one of the committees of its International body ; in other words , I had plenty to occupy my mind . I also had to contend with a “split-up” of a long term relationship ( very painful ! ) . Another year down the line , I was asked to Tutor at University – an activity I undertook to do on a voluntary unpaid basis . Once again I found myself ” in the thick of it “. I re-married in ‘ 96 and became a father again in ’07 ( in my 80th year ) . I am still ” involved ” at University on a one day per week during term time . Looking at this scenario , I would say that I have led a busy and eventful life full of challenges and responsibilities – knowing my personality , I would not have preferred any other way . Retirement can not be planned with any degree of certainty , but , when opportunities arise – providing one is fit and well , they should be grabbed and exploited . Good luck to those about to embark , and , by the way ” Happy Easter”.

  39. John Nelson
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Circumstances dictate most things in life and retirement is no exception. I am fortunate to be in good health and in receipt of a hard earned private sector (remember those) final salary scheme.
    Personally I am kept busy, busy, busy………….and loving it after a lifetime (18-65) of work in wealth creating, exporting industries. Sadly, increasing our GDP does not seem to occur to the majority of the population as being necessary to improve our society. Borrowing is the soft option, the consequences of which will be left for our grandchildren to deal with.
    The only trouble with retirement……you never get a damn day off! My children and grandchildren make sure of that.

  40. Johnny Norfolk
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    After our very busy life, 2 children 14 house moves living and working in France and Germany working for a private family comany. We now enjoy a proper retirement. We have an half acre garden and a house to look after. We have traveled so much we never want to go away on holiday again. We are not involved in anything. We look after ourselves and do all the everyday things we never had chance to do. So its no committees and all that, its just a normal simple life, that we have never led before, wonderful.. Retired 10 years ago at 57.

  41. Normandee
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I have retired twice, once after 21 years in the Royal Navy, and again against my will at 59. My relatively successful company was bought in 2000 by another SME who turned out to have the management skills of a greedy child. By 2006 I was being forced to the door by the 3rd MD in that time who wanted to change direction again. I came out of it all so badly let down that I didn’t even have enough money to buy a half decent house in the UK. So we are here in France, I have my State pension plus my Navy Pension and some savings left over from the house sale in the UK, where I have to unhappily admit I did well out of Browns incompetence.
    I am now the librarian for a local primary school 2 days a week and in the winter I teach cooking in English to French children. What will happen to us if I get my way and the UK is removed from the EU I don’t know, but it is important enough that I will keep campaigning for it

  42. John Orchard
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I was born in 1945 in a mining village in County Durham. I left school with 4 O levels. I worked for 9 years in the building industry, 9 years as a Musician in the Army and almost 22 years in the Metropolitan Police having got on my bike aged 34 leaving a wife and child in an unsold house.

    On leaving the Police I worked as a Manager for TFL for a year and 7 tears as Chauffeur to the Mayor’s of Croydon.

    Unfortunately in my penultimate year I was diagnosed with cancer.

    As you can see I did my bit regards working but feel robbed regarding pension by useless successive Governments But the moral of my story is firstly you don’t know what the future holds for you and don’t bother saving as you are treated as a cash cow so spend your money and let the State take care of you.

  43. Jane
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I retired at aged 51 years. I was apprehensive given that I have worked all of my life – never had a day off, never sick etc etc. I did plan at retiring at aged 60 so already had pension, savings etc etc. Since retirement, husband and myself invest in stock market and have seen our capital grow. (we do an awful lot of research). We both have final salary pensions and consider ourselves to be comfortable. We are not great spenders as old habits of living frugally and saving are hard to get rid of.

    We have travelled extensively and had the time to plan journeys throughout the world without the offices of agents. Much cheaper option. We have improved our golf handicap, exercise more frequently by installing a home gym, started bridge classes and now proficient, grown vegetables etc etc. I have contributed to the local community – Neighbourhood Plans, Police Panel and assist elderly neighbours. I am very busy and ensure mental and physical activities to stave of age. As yet I have never needed any health care although fear for the future as my local hospital is appalling and the Trust is currently being investigated.

    There is no right or wrong answer regarding retirement. I have little sympathy for some who have had the same opportunities as me to prepare for retirement but have elected to spend and not prepare. It is important to have a sufficient income to ensure that the movement from work to retirement is smooth. I do think we should have compulsory pension contributions – I think this happens in Australia. We need to get the message across to people that they will spend their later years in poverty unless they prepare. I fear when statistics of those with pensions is published that older people will suffer deprivation in the years ahead.

    Finances matter but it is also important to keep physically and mentally active. It is all about personal responsibility – something that many of us feel has been denigrated in the past twenty years when the notion that the State will provide has been prevalent.

  44. margaret brandreth-j
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I intend to live my life to the full and do not consider retirement as an option.
    It is a myth that we get out of life what we put in. Life is hard , but any easier would not be me . I wanted the silver spoon , love and contentment , but fate came along and said gal your lot is to help others and be happy and I will accept graciously the things I cannot change.
    So now to afternoon tea, the boat race and then to evening work on the district.

  45. Michael Cawood
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I am retired & aged 68. I am a member of my local Conservative Association and go out doing leafleting & canvassing which I enjoy as long as the weather isn’t too bad. No elections here this year though. I go out to lunch a few times each week, I also go on train trips to various places. In the summer (when we get one!) I like to drive to the coast and spend an afternoon on a beach. When at home I watch TV & use the Web to catch up on the news. I have a CD collection and I like listening to music (classical and 1970s rock).

  46. Bob
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    In the UK you can look forward to the escalating cost of living on a raided pension fund followed by long winters with short days ending with the NHS Care Pathway, at which point the government will try to confiscate what little assets you have left.

    Old people are a liability, they cost too much and they know too much. When they die the liability dies and the Treasury gets 40% of whats left.

    To paraphrase a famous writer, you can judge a society by the way it treats its pensioners.

  47. P O Pensioner
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    I was 68 this year and having just found a buyer for my business I’m hoping to retire very soon. I’ve been working for over 50 years and I’ve had enough of staffing problems, equipment breakdowns, competition and worrying about cash flow and slow payers. I’ve also found that I can’t take stress like I used to be able to do when I was younger.

    I have 3 occupational pensions plus one private pension and in addition I’m renting out the commercial premises that my wife and I own . I hope that we have sufficient income and capital to dig into if we need it.

    I am a Rotarian and will do a little more than at present. I shall spend more time gardening and in my greenhouse. My wife and I have owned an MGB roadster for the last 15 years and we shall now have a lot more time to use it and weather permitting with the hood down.

    I have been planning to build an OO gauge model railway for the last 3 years and I intend to start that in the Autumn which should give me a project for the winter.

    My wife and I enjoy good health and we hope that it lasts into old age.

    And, I shall have a little more time to read your excellent and thought provoking blog.

  48. colliemum
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Happy Easter Sunday, John!

    You’ve got a lot of answers from apparently very healthy readers.

    Bad health can influence severely what one can do when retired, as can accidents which do shake one’s confidence.

    That apart – do what one’s been doing anyway – in my case, inform myself about new things, like climate science or economics: seriously, not just by reading blogs.
    Keep up with current affairs: not hard if one’s got the genes for being a nosey old cow!

    But the most important one is: have a dog/get a dog! Daily exercise in fresh air is better than almost anything, and dog walkers are the most sociable group one could wish to meet, so even a lonely soul will have daily contact with lots of like-minded people of all ages. I think you can easily deduct which dog breed accompanies me in my retirement!

  49. zorro
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see what technology brings us in the next 10-20 years, bearing in mind advances in the last 20 years. The internet gives so many options for people to stretch their money on purchases or undertake their own investments. Technology brings many advances which help older people to interact. As more and more people are used to computers in their daily lives, it will become more natural. There are still people who are not computer literate and, as a result of this, miss out on things.

    It is important to enjoy your life as you go along and not just save. You never know what is round the corner. My mother hardly moved out of her county and only visited London once, but hoarded (including money). I regret that she missed out on so much, but it’s horses for courses!

    zorro

  50. Alan Turner
    Posted March 31, 2013 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    I retired at 65, 7 years ago, from a professional career with the last few years as Head of Engineering Technology for a major oil and gas co.
    I have not missed work at all, have remained active through tennis and golf and holidays, but thoroughly enjoy a day with nothing to do.
    I occasionally feel I should be doing something more heroic or philanthropic but the feeling soon passes.
    Family concerns (sometimes acute), declining health and the death of friends are the great levellers!

  51. david
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    I am more than two years beyond retirement age and still working full time (in far Central Asia) but I envisage living until I am about 483, transplanting the odd – new body parts grown from a Petrie dish source. By that time my golf handicap may have come down to about 9 . As I only sleep about 5 hours per day I expect to continue to paint my watercolours, work out in the gym, write many more chapters of my book, continue to cook extensively and visit the theatre for symphony concerts, ballet and the occasional opera. The main requirement , in my view, is to have an active and lively brain, challenging accepted norms, cramming as much as one can into a day within the physical boundaries that become apparent. After all, in terms of my final target age I am relatively just a teenager….

  52. Glenn Vaughan
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    The only fear I have about the prospect of retirement is ill-health in later life and having to use the deplorable National Health Service.

    The NHS does not seem to regard treatment of the elderly as a cost effective use of its resources and some of its staff behave accordingly.

  53. ferdinand
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Retirement is an opportunity to help those organisations who rely on unpaid workers to pursue their aims – the Conservative party amongst others. We have wisdom on our side and wide experience which however when offered, is often rejected for instant gratification. We know why we don’t want be part of the EU because we have worked it all out and have lived through the machinations of duplicitous politicians. So we can sit back thankful that we have had the time to think things through. We may not get what we want but we are content to let others act stupidly.

  54. Duncan
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I retired at 60, but continue with my profession 2 days a week. The rest of the time is divided between: Finance (stock market – with success I might add); politics (exposing unholy duopoly between bankers and politicians); reading good books; painting (acrylics and oils); gardening; walking (an hour every day); swimming (half an hour five days a week).

    I have never been so happy or financially secure in my life.

  55. muddyman
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I have been retired for over 25 years now, having worked for some 40+ years from the age of 15. Regular Serviceman and work in some odd occupations eventually provided enough to enable early retirement. Enjoy it! you only get one , no more taking orders just your own responsibilities. Realise that all worry is for nothing and most of the world is in a bigger mess than you are, travel while you can and be thankful for what you have.

  56. Bill
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Regarding finance I think that it is best to aim for an income in retirement that is a multiple of the average wage on the assumption that prices of most things in the UK will be related to this figure. If one can hit the average wage (about £26k) and does not have to pay a mortgage, then one ought to be able to use the money that would have been spent on repayments for leisure or philanthropy.

    I note that tax allowances are set up so that over £25,400 per year, the increased personal allowance for those over 65 is cut down. This means that there is a kind of dead zone causing pensions higher than £25,400 to be disadvantaged. If one receives more than £35k, then the 40% tax rate kicks in. My aim is to try to get my pension to £34,999 and my wife’s to the same or as near to this as possible.

    What to do in retirement? This seems to me to be a religious or philosophical question connected with one’s view of what is of value in life. It is ok to live for pleasure but does this pall after a while? To live for family and grandchildren seems more worthwhile but I note that my own memories of my grand father reach back till I was over the age of about six. This means that if you want to be remembered there is only a limited time for this. For myself, I would want to pass on my faith in God to my grandchildren.

    Because you do not know how long you will live, you need to plan for (a) a long life (b) a short life that makes provision for those you love (c) illness. If you do this, it seems to me you have got the bases covered. I have to be prepared for bereavement or my wife’s bereavement. Indeed the concepts of ‘young old age’, ‘middle old age’ and ‘old old age’ are useful, and there is a sense in which the post-retirement years recapitulate the preceding stages of life. Activity in the first stage, reflection in the second and, well, who knows what in the third stage…

  57. John2
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    There is a fifth activity you did not mention – I spend some of my time managing my savings. Once you retire, your savings are what separate you from the life you are accustomed to and the poor house.

    Cyprus has caused me to redouble my interest in my savings; not only do I obtain intellectual stimulus from the investment matters themselves but I also find it absorbing trying to protect my savings from a self-serving political system masquerading as a democracy.

    In my working life, as well as paying lots of tax and doing my bit, I had to undertake risk assessments. I find myself doing these risk assessments for myself now; mitigating the “poor house” risk is quite motivating; when I say “motivating” I mean moving emotionally rather than moving physically (from the UK), although the latter is of course one possible part of a risk mitigation strategy!

  58. JOhn
    Posted April 1, 2013 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    John – you need to get up to date on this. The old Adult Education provision in FE and free standing institutes has almost gone. I do know about this having spent the best part of my life working in Adult Education. By the time New Labour took over in 1997 Adult Ed was viewed essentially as “leisure” classes which should not be supported by the public purse. While the label “leisure” is partly true – there were thousands of students who actually used it for vocational purposes. Institutes responded by putting on what people purchased (called the free market). The effect (even in the terms of vocational output and help for the vulnerable) was much greater than the planned targeted provision which replaced it. But sadly the planners won after 1997 and thought Adult Ed was only worthwhile if there was a vocational qualification at the end or if it helped the “vulnerable” or the illiterate. So this is really not much of an option for the retired today. I consequently spend my time reading, building extensions, repairing the car and having a beer with lefty friends (it keeps me sharp!). As Marx said “man creates himself through his labour” and this is true whether by hand or by brain. But in your case (I suspect you are more cerebral than me) keep up the blog, contribute articles to the papers, and continue what you are doing. It is a most valuable contribution to preserving the sort of society many of us value.

  59. William
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    The very thought of retirement fills me with complete dread. I never want to do nothing, it’s unhealthy. Nor do I want to end up being an inveterate busy body on the local council or golf club. One of my ambitions in my career is to be a director of my own company and decide myself when to retire, not when the state tells me to.

    • P O Pensioner
      Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      William, I understand your mindset as it was similar to mine a few years ago. But being a director of your own company (I assume you are currently an employee without any of your own capital at risk) comes with a great deal of self satisfaction if successful but a great deal of stress if not successful. As an employee the worst that can happen is that you can lose your job but owning your own business can mean losing your capital and all your personal assets if the business fails. Being a limited company can often mean that the directors have to give personal guarantees to their bank and some major suppliers so that limited liability is not all that it appears in the real World of 2013!

      • William
        Posted April 4, 2013 at 10:42 am | Permalink

        All capital is at some risk. I intend to start small and scale the business up appropriately. Personal guarantees are not often needed in a well managed company, especially if it’s a professional services company with no debt and few suppliers. I appreciate your words of caution all the same.

  60. Grimbert
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Global warming has delivered a lot less than promised, and unless it picks up I will be emigrating when I have the means to provide for myself, i.e. the mortgage is paid in 20 years’ time and I can let the house out and live off the income.
    The Costa del Sol is the warmest place in Europe in winter. Four months there, 4 months in the UK in summer and 2 months leisurely travel between the two each spring and autumn. That’s my dream.

  61. William Long
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    My first reaction was’ Why on earth is he asking this? The main thing I have learned over the years is that nothing happens as you had planned it but thing is to stay awake so you can get the best out of events. My retirement planning such as it was aimed at being able to finance a salary-less life at about 60. There is no doubt that one of the best thing that happened to me was being made redundant form a relatively senior roll at the age of 57 as the result of a merger. I suppose I could then have put my feet up but something made me feel ‘Blow them; I’m not going to!’ However I knew quite clearly that I had had enough of all day everyday and when I was asked to help start, and chair a new business I made it clear that I would not be full time. So retirement for me has been something that has come on by degrees with ups and downs; we listed the new business on AIM after three years so it was not a straight line of decline!
    At least one of your contributors has made the point that ones attitude to retirement will depend alot on how much one enjoyed ones work; I was very lucky; what I did fascinated me from start to finish and still does. But one is also lucky if one has other fascinations and there is no doubt that being able to have more time for these is a great reward.
    There is also no doubt that being able to fund an adequately comfortable retirement is crucial and is likely to be much more difficult for the next generation than it was for mine. I benefitted from very good advice – not all IFAs are rogues – which interestingly provided me with a portfolio of mostly with-profit section 226 policies with excellent guaranteed annuity rates. Pension provision is a great challenge to any government and in my view is a long way from having been put right. Partners and employees without adequate pension provision are a bugbear in any professional firm as those involved will expect to use their client base as their pension and go on working for ever. The same principal applies in society at large; the state must be able to ensure that people can retire adequately provided for or there will be an employment blockage with no jobs for the young. How this is funded in my view remains very much work in progress, or lack of it.

  62. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Aged 66 going on 67, I am ‘semi-retired’. Since losing my last full time employment in 2009 aged 63 (awkward timing!), I have been lucky enough to work as Team Leader on two overseas projects, which have been interesting and help to pay the bills. Since completing the second, I have had kidney problems and acquired an arthritic left hip. In spite of fighting off the best endeavours of the NHS to turn me into a ‘thing’ by recommending steroid treatment with 17 adverse side effects and prescribing pain killers (just say “no”), I may not be insurable to work overseas again, so it might be the end of the line.

    I am playing a lot more bridge, including tournaments, have taken up the chairmanship of my local Conservative Branch, and have signed a one year contract with my local sports centre for swimming and gym. I miss the world of work, but not enough to work for peanuts and deprive a younger person of work.

    Having answered his question, perhaps Mr Redwood would be kind enough to answer mine. Bearing in mind that male life expectancy has increased by 4 years during the last 20 years, that alzheimers disease and bowel cancers are on the up, and that by 2030 there will be a third more people aged 65 or more, does he think that the State should bear down on the amount spent on the retired elderly? If so, how?

    Among measures that I would consider are:
    – Progressively raise the retirement age to 70
    – Insist on everbody making a ‘living will’ before retirement
    – An end to all grants and price concessions for the elderly
    – State pensions to rise by 1% pa like other benefits for now
    – Publish what employee NI funds and ask if pensioners should pay something
    – Issue free books – Gulliver’s Travels, Ending Up, After Many a Summer and a book on the pathology of the aging brain – to people aged about 60
    – Limit drugs prescribed on the NHS for over 75s to generic, out-of-patent drugs
    – Make grants of £10,000 available for one way tickets to Switzerland

    It would be good if the Conservative Party became less dependent on the grey vote. There is an implication in what I say that people have an obligation to provide for their own retirement. It would help if the State eliminated inflation, for which it alone is responsible.

    Reply I do support the moves to raise the Pension age, and think the retirement age should be linked to life expectancy. I fought the last election on the Conservative Manifesto which said we would keep the present pensioner benefits, and I am glad Mr Cameron wishes the party to keep that promise.

    • Lindsay McDougall
      Posted April 4, 2013 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      I am glad that Mr Redwood supports moves to raise the pension age, which should be linked to life expectancy. I doubt if that will be sufficient but it is a measure that will have widespread support. I must ask – and perhaps the medical profession can answer this – is whether the extra 4 years of life expectancy is healthy life, or merely a drugs controlled extension of old age. It makes no sense to me to prolong old age by treating physical ailments, just to see more people succumb to Alzheimers. It is time that we stopped worshipping at the altar of longevity.

  63. David Hanna
    Posted April 2, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    I retired 2 years ago at the age of 54. As some of my income was being taxed at 62% I took the view that the hassle in vs rewards out equation had swung decisively against remaining economically active. I was then subject to harassment from HMRC (they owed me), which was ridiculous for a PAYE wave slave as I had been throughout my working life. I am absolutely determined not to pay higher rate tax ever again and my affairs are arranged accordingly. I do voluntary work of a caring nature (sorry I don’t want to be more specific) and I keep my former skillset sharp providing pro bono consultancy to friends and family. I have investigated and chosen not to set up a small company to become economically active because of the hassle and beaurocracy involved. Ie I am not prepared to work to keep the economically unproductive masses employed. Thank you for your interesting and informative blog. Sadly you must remain a voice crying in the wilderness while all of the main political parties insist on trying to bribe the electorate with its own money.

  64. William Henwood
    Posted April 3, 2013 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I am retired with 50% of income coming from the state pension. Still have a mortgage. Realise that people who did not put money aside for old age are better off as they get their rates and rent paid for them whereas I have to pay the rates from my meagre resources. My rent [Cost of capital invested in my home does not earn anything however it does provide a roof over my head].

    The fourth option is my option except I take a lot of exercise. [I worked for many years as an agency worker without recourse to a pension though I did put a small sum aside monthly]. Then there is option two. I do charity work for UKIP and my local Conservative Councillor who supports an in out referendum. [I believe in this country and feel we should be able to rule ourselves].

    I do not know where this puts me but I work on my children’s homes and will when they get around to having children enjoy taking the grand children camping and for walks.

    I am excised by the rising cost of fuel. Can not afford the subsidies to stationary windmills and solar panels. We also appear to be subsidising foreign fuel bills. [We are over charged here so that the supplier can subsidise their national grids. All energy suppliers should not be allowed to be owned by foreign states. Foreigners may own a utility provide it does not have state funded share holders on their share register].

  65. Richard
    Posted June 27, 2013 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    I for one can’t wait to retire. People working past retirement age are nothing but selfish at keeping younger skilled up and coming people out of jobs.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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