The generation now moving into retirement lived through the summer of love, the psychedelic phenomenon of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. They are the richest generation ever to have retired, benefitting from good workplace pension provision and radical increases in residential property values. This gives them financial security, which, combined with increased longevity and better health, gives them choices the generations before them did not have. Fit, active and well-off, their lives are very different to their own parents and often, will be better, and different to, their own children.
A client aged 67, who retired a few years ago, recently called in. He told me he had always loved the sea and when he retired, took surfing lessons. He and his wife now spend entire summers in their camper van touring the beaches of the South and West of Ireland. Their children are long since grown up, so now they do exactly what they want, when they want to.
Another couple told me they have become ‘snowbirds’. With the arrival of bad weather in Ireland, they head south for months at a time, living in their camper van. They rent out their home on Airbnb, which pays for their food and petrol.
Other retirees are choosing to move abroad lock, stock and barrel. Low continental house prices can make selling up in Ireland and moving to the Mediterranean look like a smart move. Some have kept a property at home that they rent out while others have taken the plunge and cut their ties entirely. Apparently, a diet of olive oil, fresh vegetables, fish and red wine has been shown to prolong healthy life, so such a move is about more than just money.
Apart from property, retirees are learning new skills such as painting, starting new businesses they can work flexibly, even choosing new life partners for their later years. For those with the health and wealth, retirement is better, more exciting, and varied than for any generation before it. For this generation of retirees, retirement truly is golden and there is much to celebrate about it. However, it is uneven. The outlook is nowhere near so rosy for those in poor health with little wealth.