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What is retirement really like?

(79 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 10-Mar-16 16:24:51

We wanted to know from those of you who are retired what it's really like? Is it as blissfully free of responsibilities as you'd thought it would be?
Has it affected your relationships? Do you struggle to fill your days, or do you find yourself busier than ever and more able to socialise/see family etc?
Was it easy to adjust to the change in income?
Do you wish you had (if you'd been in a position to) retired sooner? Or do you think you could have worked a bit longer? Do you still keep in touch with your old colleagues or is it a case of good riddance?
What has been the biggest adjustment for you?

Jane10 Thu 10-Mar-16 16:39:02

Time. I really enjoy having something interesting to do every day but no rushing. I don't have to live by the clock. Having another cup of coffee in the morning and listening to others scraping the ice off their windscreens is lovely. I sleep really well now and don't wake up angry in the night. My blood pressure has gone down etc etc etc. Is that enough?! I could go on....

tanith Thu 10-Mar-16 16:39:35

Its wonderful not to have to live life a slave to the clock. I took my watch off the day I retired and I haven't put it on since.
Mine was ill-health retirement and I thought I would really struggle to survive with only my NHS pension but not so I managed fine even though still paying a mortgage. It amazed me how much less I managed on perfectly well. OH was still working but I managed to carry on paying my way with bills and mortgage although we altered the ratio we both contributed. I would of happily carried on working but I was no longer physical able to do it. Sadly my old colleagues mostly fell by the wayside and I have lost touch with most of them .
Biggest adjustment was just to do nothing and I still struggle a bit with that I always feel that I should be doing something but I'm getting there slowly. OH is now retired and we love it that we can take off on a trip or day out whenever we feel like , we can visit family or go to the cinema when its not busy which is great. We do have days when we just chill out at home or in the garden but thats fine too .

We are blissfully free of responsibilities and love it.

ninathenana Thu 10-Mar-16 18:28:07

H took early retirement/redundancy at 60 we were able to pay off our mortgage and realise that we are fortunate to be better off than when we both worked.
We love the freedom to do what we want, when we want. I agree with others, that extra 1/2 hr in bed or extra cuppa in the morning when you feel like it is bliss.

J52 Thu 10-Mar-16 18:59:54

I love it! I also loved my job, but would not consider going back. The bliss of not getting out of bed before day break, being able to choose how to spend your time and to be able to accept invitations whenever they occur.


Leticia Thu 10-Mar-16 19:08:00

I love it and it is the best time of my life! There is so much to do that the main problem is that it all clashes-I really don't understand why people would be bored.
The joy is that you don't have to do it and can just have days off. We can go away outside the school holidays and I rarely set the alarm.
I keep in touch with the old colleagues that I wish to keep in touch with.
It didn't take any adjustment except in moving and making new friends.

Indinana Thu 10-Mar-16 20:36:51

I love it too. The freedom is just the most amazing part of it: not having to live by the tyranny of the alarm clock; not having to go out pre-dawn in pouring rain, or scrape ice off the car - and then shiver while your car heater takes nearly the whole drive to work to actually throw out any heat. I can now make that second cuppa and sit by the fire smile.

Financially, we have hardly noticed any difference - our mortgage was paid off some years ago and it's true what they say about the money you save by not working. The daily drive to work has gone, so I use much less fuel now. And I no longer have to pay the monthly parking fees at work, which were considerable. Lunches are home made, not bought from the very handy (but expensive!) on campus catering outlets. Oh and the saving on clothes too! I was always buying work clothes, I must have spent a small fortune, but now my casual and comfy wardrobe lasts and lasts.

The only downside - and it is a major factor - is that my health has gone considerably downhill since I retired. So although I have the freedom to do lots of things I'd never had time for, I now find some of them difficult, exhausting, or just damn painful sad

Jane10 Thu 10-Mar-16 21:22:55

That's such a shame Indinana. I suppose that really is the major downside to retirement. We're getting older and parts are wearing out. sad

whitewave Thu 10-Mar-16 21:25:18

Only reiterate what others have said. This is the life! So civilised and fancy free. But am aware that you need a certain level of income in order to be so relaxed and with so much choice. If you are unfortunate to be like a lady I saw on television yesterday who had real trouble affording her heating bills than it isn't so good.

Not sure if there has ever been a look at GNs but sometimes I think they are a tad middle class so perhaps it doesn't give a true picture. I may be very wrong if course! Actually probably am as I am sure some will tell me with great relish.

tanith Thu 10-Mar-16 21:32:38


oldgoat Thu 10-Mar-16 23:07:39

Retirement? Up at 6.40, GCs arrive just after 7 for breakfast. Escort them to school then have 'free time' til 3.20 pick-up, homework, dinner, then off home at 5.40. Friday afternoons off! Days out and holidays by prior arrangement. Youngest GC will be off to secondary school in two years and don't expect to see much of them after that. Some people might think that it is madness to give up so much time to look after the grandchildren but I think that I have been lucky.

mumofmadboys Thu 10-Mar-16 23:12:12

I am two years into retirement and I love it. I used to be so tired when I worked! Love the choice of things to do. Love not being ruled by the clock. I feel a lot less stressed and I sleep better.

whitewave Fri 11-Mar-16 06:45:50

When you look at what so many have commented on about lack of tiredness and stress. How can the next generation be expected to work for so much longer? It seems cruel.

Imperfect27 Fri 11-Mar-16 07:11:40

I am not retired, but I have had a really odd year with nearly six months out due to health issues. Broken ankle aside, I have loved the slow pace and we have taken a long, hard look at finances and recognised that we can live on less than we were. This has shaped my current job choice and I am happily electing to have less responsibility for less pay when I return.

I am not due to retire in state pension terms for another 14 years, but hope that we can re-organise life when we both turn sixty and some pensions start to come in - just under seven years to go for us both.

What I have realised in these 6 months is that I like and need a routine and I need to make myself exercise. I honestly think my quality of life will be improved once I retire. How I have loved the freedom. It is going to be hard to get back into the groove of a very full working week.

Jane10 Fri 11-Mar-16 07:52:12

I suppose that if I was just starting work now and knew that I'd have to work to 75 I might take pension saving a bit more seriously. I know youngsters have many expenses (as we did too) but even a small amount each month if started young enough can turn into early retirement. I'm forever grateful to my Dad who made me start pension savings in my 20s and encouraged me to add in more in my 40s. It has literally bought me my freedom at 60. Us Grans must encourage the younger generations to plan early. I try but am usually met with resistance. Just hope they don't learn the hard way!

NanaandGrampy Fri 11-Mar-16 08:25:33

I've been retired 2 years now .I'm now 8 years off getting my state pension but the whole commute became too much of challenge with my mobility worsening so we sat down and looked at what it would mean for us and one year into my retirement my husband retired too.

I probably would have looked for another role if retirement had not been viable.

Retirement has proved to be everything we hoped for. My husband has not worn a watch for a year smile

We don't make appointments before 11am because we don't have an alarm clock to get up to.

Our relationship was rock solid before and remains so despite the fact that in 39 years of marriage my husband has worked shifts and I have worked away from home for extended periods. This is the most we have ever seen of each other grin I do have 'sod off ' moments where I would like some space but we solve that by one of us going out for a couple of hours.

Struggle to fill our days???? That's almost laughable, we have never been busier. We're in demand by the grandchildren and its delightful to be an integrated part of their lives instead of a weekend visitor. We travel, we do voluntary work using work based skills to benefit others.

The income adjustment was brutal with out income firstly being halved for one year and then halved again when my husband retired. But we now budget ( a thing I haven't had to do for 40 years) we look for bargains and we don't spend out on office clothes, commuting transport, expensive lunches in the city and all the work associated costs. I used to spend around £500 a month JUST getting to work.

I don't know what I would have done if I had been expected to work into my 70's . Just because I had an office based job doesn't mean I could have physically coped with it. The cut and thrust of office life can be brutal, a 4 hour commute each day? Just not viable.

Occasionally I touch base with a colleague or two but they were my colleagues not my friends and once you take a shared job out of the equation there's often not much common ground left.

Retirement is amazing. Id don't have one negative. We might not have shed loads of money but for the first time in 45 years since starting work --- I have a life and I'm going to live it !!

petra Fri 11-Mar-16 08:47:27

Whitewave. Could you define what you think is 'middle class'

carerof123 Fri 11-Mar-16 09:04:08

i am a new retiree not quite a year yet but it is heaven!!!! As others have stated, no alarm clock, no stress, no bickering workmates, just freedom. I am so busy i really wonder how i found time to go to work. I exercise regularly, play indoor bowls during the winter months, outside during the summer, look after my grand daughter when necessary, meet friends for coffee, meet my daughter more regularly, in fact we are off to Rome in June for a 'city break'. I purchased a greenhouse 18months before retiring so am looking forward to getting that started in a few weeks time when the weather warms up-its not heated- and of course the garden to see to as well. I find i enjoy doing the housework and love to cook, and as for finances, yes you have to be more selective in what you spend but it is so worth it. I have actually gone back to the old ways, i have several envelopes which every month i put money in for things like Christmas, birthdays, car insurance mot and tax, window cleaner and petrol. Utility bills are still paid by direct debit but everything else i budget for. I feel for people who are having the goal posts moved every-time they get near to retirement and consider myself very lucky. Also my DH and i get on so much better now.

Charleygirl Fri 11-Mar-16 09:20:02

I retired nearly 13 years ago. I did not receive my state pension until 6 months later but once I had paid off my mortgage and was no longer paying TFL to update the tube lines on my own I was able to organise my money better. I had little savings so I had 2 part time jobs which enabled me to update my house, buy another car and save. This all stopped after I broke my ankle but I adjusted very well to the income drop.

As others have said, no more expense on work clothes. No alarm clock and like others if I can arrange it, no appointments before 11am as I am "busy".

There are two downsides, friends after retiring have moved and three have moved a long distance from London. The other is health- I have had one knee replacement, not the best outcome and I am on the list for the other to be replaced. With a pinned and plated ankle I cannot walk any distance.

Retirement enables me to enjoy my house and garden more without having to run out of the door at the crack of dawn to get to work. Love it.

M0nica Fri 11-Mar-16 09:46:57

I was made voluntarily redundant into early retirement in my early 50s. Would I have liked to work longer, you bet! I went not because I wanted to, but because it was in my best interests. My employer was halving its workforce and was offering very advantageous redundancy terms if you went. Over 50s got an immediate pension without reduction for taking it early. Staying could mean later compulsory redundancy and poorer redundancy terms. I tried to get another job, but soon discovered over 50s are unemployable (this was the mid 1990s). Fortunately I had my pension, not huge, but DH worked until retirement age.

The move from work was seamless, retraining grants were available under the redundancy scheme so I took one and went back to university for a year to do a course I had always wanted to do. Also between agreeing redundancy, six months before I quit and the completion of my course, my mother and her sister, to whom I was close, both died suddenly, also one of DH's aunts, where we were the executors of her estate, and it was a messy time consuming job. We also moved house, already planned, but accelerated by seeing the house we wanted. I didn't really have time to think about the transition.

And so it has gone on. DH and I have always had a lot of outside interests and now we have more time for them. DH is a chartered engineer and when he retired he became a self-employed consultant. As a result he has worked off and on as he chooses ever since retirement. Plus, of course, we now have grand children.

We are very lucky that we were always in well-paid employment before we retired and in good occupational pension schemes - DH has continued working so we have, so far, seen no diminution of our income. I know that has not been the case for so many managing on just the state pension or only a little more and that must inevitably be reflected in one's retirement experiences. We are also both still in good health.

What is the greatest blessing of retirement? No longer fearing redundancy and the loss of a job and income. My state pension and occupational pension go into my bank account regularly every month. Nothing is 100 % secure, but a pension is as secure an income as you can get.

morethan2 Fri 11-Mar-16 10:03:47

Did you mean middle income whitewave? My sister's husband will retire with a large lump sum at 55 and 40 thousand plus yearly pension. He's worked very hard and I don't begrudge him at all. Started off as a rent man, got a degree and worked up to a very senior position. My sister who was in the same profession gave up work to have children so only worked for around 10years plus gets a smaller pension at 60 of £90 a week. So I think they are definitely 'middle income' on retirement. I'll get around £50-£ 60 a week from my NHS pension and £130 from my state pension. When my husband retires I estimating ( he's never got round to finding out but he better hurry he's 63 this year) his state pension and a bit on top. Fingers crossed it'll £250 week maybe a bit more maybe a bit less. So between us around £450-£500 week Will that be enough for a decent retirement? 🤔 I'd appreciate your thoughts.

nannienet Fri 11-Mar-16 10:18:02

I retired from my job of 25 years to help care for my Grandchildren, 4 of them now! While their parents work. I care for Grandchildren four days a week. I have had NO communication from any colleagues since leaving over two years ago,l did class them as friends when working but it's good riddance l think now,guess they are jealous maybe! Some days I feel that l am working harder,feel more tired but love it! I'm so lucky!!

Cath9 Fri 11-Mar-16 10:29:53

If you have prepared yourself, it can be a wonderful time.
If you want to move, think where you would like to live long before you retire and get used to the area.
This was our mistake and my late husband died young, when we were still renting, while searching for our home, so he was never able to enjoy his retirement like his sister, who has travelled around the globe with her husband.

I was also not well when younger; so not only is my pension very low, I had to continue to try and find a property after his death, but on a lower budget. However, I get by, mostly grandma sitting!

hulahoop Fri 11-Mar-16 10:38:29

It's good unfortunately within months of retirement I got cancer and hubby had major surgery so plans had to change but we try and make best of it but love not having to be ruled by clock and not having the stress of work I do lunch with friends so does hubby it's good to have break from each other money wise we both had work pensions and we have savings so no problems there I feel sorry for people having to work longer and feel some jobs are too hard to do past 60ish so think more people will retire through ill health .

merlotgran Fri 11-Mar-16 10:44:44

Horses for courses. My brother and sis-in-law travel, travel, travel whereas we prefer to keep the home fires burning. I don't miss working - in fact I think I was born to retire grin