Evolving your lifestyle to suit retirement

As retirement approaches, it’s a perfect time to take stock. Consider how your day⁠-⁠to⁠-⁠day schedule will differ when you finish work, and plan lifestyle changes that will fit with your new financial and personal situation.

It’s a key opportunity to make decisions about your priorities and aspirations for this new period in your life. Essentially, retirement is about having more free time ­– and fewer work and family commitments. But what are popular aspirations – and what lifestyle changes could you make as you head into retirement?

A survey carried out by Citizen’s Advice1 reveals that 51% of people cited travel and holidays as their main goal. For many people their home is probably their biggest financial asset, far outweighing any savings and income. A popular way to tap into this wealth is through an equity release plan. This could help home owners by freeing up some of the funds needed for longer travel or far⁠-⁠flung holidays that may have been out of financial reach before. But it’s not just holidays for relaxation purposes that rank high up – many people use retirement as an opportunity to visit family who live elsewhere or to revisit a popular childhood destination.

Buying a holiday home or caravan is also a popular choice for new retirees who are looking to make the most of their newfound free time. This could be to enjoy long weekends as working hours are reduced as you phase into retirement. Or after retirement, it may be the chance to enjoy the freedom from work, with a cost effective bolthole to escape to with your partner or even the grandchildren.

Making the most of leisure time through hobbies is also a key way in which people can make those all⁠-⁠important lifestyle changes. Whether hobbies are seen as the route to staying active, a chance to meet people, to avoid loneliness or simply to have fun, taking up new interests can be pivotal to how you feel as you get used to your new retirement status.

Sporting activities are a great way to introduce new friendships as well as supporting personal health and wellbeing goals. From signing up at the gym and buying a bike to joining a local badminton club, the options are endless.

For some, stopping work altogether is not an option, so phasing into retirement by switching to part time hours means that this change is more gradual. But while some people reduce their hours as they head into life⁠-⁠after⁠-⁠work, other options include evolving your role to reduce stress, working from home more or taking on freelance or consultancy work.

Signing up as a volunteer is a popular choice for those who have either reduced their hours or stopped working altogether. It provides people with the social and mental stimulation of work without the pressures their career may have brought with it. Giving up your time for a charity, organisation or local sports club can also foster a sense of satisfaction from getting involved in a good cause. Options are endless ­– as an example, Citizens Advice relies on 20,000 volunteers across England and Wales, many of whom are phasing into, or have started their retirement.

So as you head towards retirement, consider the financial opportunity that schemes like equity release could offer you, take some time to think about your aspirations and make those all⁠-⁠important lifestyle changes.