Grey gap years: Why retirement is the perfect time to get away

It’s commonplace for students to head off on a year of discovery before settling down into the world of university or work. But it’s becoming an increasingly popular choice for the ‘young at heart’, too.

Today, many over fifties are taking full advantage of the time freed up by finishing work to enjoy a gap year before they relax into retirement. And like their younger counterparts, they are using this extended break to fulfil an interest or thirst for adventure.

Reports suggest that there are in the region of 200,000 people already taking ‘grey’ gap years from the UK¹, and this figure looks set to rise. Spending around £5,000 per trip, they are using savings, pensions, schemes like equity release and income from letting out their home to fund the trip of a lifetime.

Fresh from a career, you may decide to use your valuable business or practical know-how in your time out. There is a wealth of volunteer opportunities across the world where your skills will be in great demand. Projects in Asia and Africa, for example, cover areas like business development, plumbing, animal care, house building and education.

A number of organisations cater exclusively for those of us wishing to help out abroad. According to Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO), 40% of its volunteers are in their fifties and sixties, and 2% in their seventies. In fact, they raised their age limit from 65 to 75 in 2003 to take advantage of increasing numbers of retirees looking to put their time to good use, whilst also seeing the world.² Opting to take off on a gap ‘year’ doesn’t have to mean you’re away for a full twelve months. Volunteer schemes range from just a few weeks to two years, depending on how long you’d like to be away.

A gap year also doesn’t have to be dedicated to good causes. It can simply be an excuse for visiting other parts of the globe on an extended holiday. Research by the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) revealed that travel is the nation’s main aim, with 62% choosing exploring the world over new hobbies or treating their family.

So whether the idea of a gap year for volunteering or seeing the world appeals to you, planning is the key to success. You can do this yourself or, if that sounds a little daunting, you can employ the services of a specialist company, which will take charge of visas, flights, insurance, accommodation and local arrangements for you.

Either way, your friends and family can look forward to hearing all about it. Thanks to the Internet, you’ll find it easier than ever before to email and phone home or record your gap year experiences in a blog. So the only question remaining is, when you reach retirement and yearn to spread your wings, where will you go?

 

¹http://gapadvice.org/retirement-gap-year/what-is-a-gap-year/

²https://www.theguardian.com/society/2006/aug/30/voluntarysector.gapyeartravel

Important Information – Equity Release

Equity release may involve a lifetime mortgage or a home reversion plan which is secured against your property. To understand the features and risks, ask for a personalised illustration.

Age Partnership will let you know how much tax-free cash you could unlock, if its right for you and the different options available, the effect on the amount of inheritance you can leave and if your entitlement to means-tested benefits could be affected now or in the future.

We provide initial; advice for free and without obligation. Only if you choose to proceed and your case completes would a typical fee of 2.2% of the amount released be payable.

Over 2500 independent reviews on Trust Pilot.

In an independent audit by Investor in Customers, Age Partnership achieved the highest possible rating of ‘Exceptional’ for its service in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

Age Partnership has received the Plain English Campaign’s ‘Crystal Mark’ for the clarity of its customer literature on equity release and annuities.

Age Partnership featured in the 2011 Sunday Times ‘Fast Track 100’ as one of the UK’s fastest-growing private companies.

Age Partnership Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. FCA Register Number 425432.

Age Partnership Ltd, 2200 Century Way, Thorpe Park, Leeds LS15 8ZB.

100 companies to inspire Britain 2015
brigade