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Britons' dreams put on the back-burner until retirement

Press release: 04/04/2011

  • 14% of Brits are hopeful their dream home will become a reality in retirement
  • Only a fifth (20%) of Brits have achieved their travel ambitions and over half have not yet been on their dream holiday; 44% hope to fulfil this later in life or in retirement
  • However just one in three (30%) of those aged 18 to 29 years and under half (47%) of those aged 30 to 49 years are currently saving anything towards retirement

Despite the gloomy economic back-drop, the majority of Brits still have dreams and aspirations, from buying their perfect home in the countryside to an idyllic beach holiday. Yet many people are pinning hopes on their retirement years to fulfil their dreams as the current climate makes them financially unreachable today, according to new research from retirement and protection specialist LV=[1].

When it comes to their dream home, one in three (33%) Brits have had what they consider their ideal home. The nation reveals their realistic dream home is a house with a large garden in the countryside, with more than three bedrooms, and equipped with the latest mod-cons[2]. Of those who have not yet achieved their ideal home 41% hopes to do so in the future.

Unsurprisingly, affordability is the main reason most people are not yet in their ideal homes, but 14% are hopeful that as they reach retirement, their dream home will become a reality. Those already in retirement (aged 60+ years) have shown that dreams can come true, as one in two (50%) have achieved their aspirations when it comes to their home. However, to achieve their aspirations later in life younger generations (those aged 18 to 29 years) need to look hard at their current retirement planning as only one in three (30%) are saving anything towards retirement and the picture for those aged 30-49 years does not look much better, as under half are (47%) are currently saving anything.

In addition, LV='s third annual State of Retirement Report (issued July 2010) found that one in five of those approaching retirement (21%) have decreased their retirement savings by an average of £324 a month, or £3,800 a year[3].

Ray Chinn, head of pensions at LV=, said: "From a young age, we have aspirations for our future lives. Whether it's a wonderful home in the country, sunning yourself on a beach or realising your childhood career aspirations.

"For most of us, it can take many years of hard work and a disciplined approach to saving to get anywhere near achieving these dreams. For many people, our golden years in retirement is when we see ourselves relaxing in a perfect home, and jetting off on dream holidays, but unless we start saving for retirement early, and put enough aside, these dreams will not become a reality."

Dreaming of a perfect holiday
When it comes to travel, LV='s research found that a beach holiday is the most popular "perfect holiday" among Brits, followed by a round-the-world trip and a cruise[4]. However, despite keeping their holiday dreams pragmatic, the majority of people have not followed their ambitions - over half (55%) say they have not yet been on their idea of a perfect holiday, of which most (78%) hope to still achieve later in life or in retirement. Yet sadly, of today's retirees (aged 60+ years), just a third (32%) have fulfilled their travel dreams and only 52% have had their dream holiday, with one in five (20%) giving up hope of ever doing so.

Job's a good'un
The research also asked about childhood career dreams and ambitions. More than four in five of all Brits (84%) say they had career aspirations as a child. The most popular dream job as a child was to be a teacher, followed by the armed forces and being an actor[5].

If you break this down into different generations and what their most popular career aspirations were, for those now over 70, the top dream job as a child was joining the armed forces, followed by being a scientist and engineer. In contrast, for those in their twenties today, being a teacher or actor came out joint top as their childhood aspiration, followed by a lawyer and air hostess.

Despite these employment hopes, among all Brits, nearly two-thirds (64%) have not fulfilled their career goals, of which almost half (46%) don’t think they ever will. One in six (17%) cite not having the funds to pay for training as a reason, while over a quarter (26%) feel they lacked the necessary qualifications and 18% the correct skills to pursue their dream job. A fifth (22%) of people said they decided to have a family instead.

However, some people seem to be simply putting their dreams on hold until later in life with almost one in ten people (8%) saying they intend to re-visit something related to their career aspirations by taking up voluntary work or associated hobbies in the future, or retirement.

Ray Chinn continued: "It’s heartening to see people saying they want to recapture their childhood dreams later in their lives. Often in retirement people have more time and hopefully, more cash, to do the things they always wanted to do.

"This shows that age doesn’t need to be a barrier to fulfilling your dreams and that saving for retirement isn’t just about scratching out an acceptable standard of living. It’s important for people in or approaching retirement to be aware of all the options available to them, such as having enough savings built up in the first place, to shopping around for the best annuity, having a more flexible pension income or releasing the equity locked in their home. Retirement can be the stuff dreams are made of - provided people take the time to plan for it."

Top 10 careers when growing up

Top careers when growing up

Number of people who wanted to do this job

Those that did not achieve career once grown up


Teacher / Lecturer




Army, Navy, RAF, other armed forces












Air hostess / steward








Police officer















About LV=

LV= is a registered trademark of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Limited (LVFS) and a trading style of the Liverpool Victoria group of companies.

LV= employs around 4,500 people, serves over four million customers and members, and manages around £8.0bn (as at 31 December 2010) on their behalf, via LV= Asset Management (LVAM). We are also the UK’s largest friendly society and a leading mutual financial services provider.

LVFS is authorised and regulated by the Financial Services Authority, register number 110035. LVFS is a member of the ABI, the AFM and ILAG. Registered address: County Gates, Bournemouth BH1 2NF.

Notes to editors

[1] Research was carried out online by Opinium among 2,022 UK adults aged 18+ from 15-17 March 2011 on behalf of LV=. Results have been weighted to nationally representative criteria.

[2] Asked to think about what characteristics their dream home would consist of, the five most popular features are:

  • A house – 58%

  • With a large garden / open space – 49%

  • In the country – 39%

  • More than three bedrooms big – 38%

  • Equipped with mod cons – 38%

[3] Omnibus research carried out by Opinium Research on behalf of LV= as part of the State of Retirement Report. An online poll of 1,557 British adults, all aged over 50, was carried out from 2 - 7 June 2010.

[4] Asked to think about what people consider to be their perfect holiday, the five most popular trips were ·

  • A beach holiday – 19%

  • A round-the-world trip – 15%

  • A cruise – 9%

  • Relaxing/holidays to unwind (e.g. spa, spiritual, detox) – 7%

  • City sight-seeing – 6%

The research also looks into the top careers people wanted when they were growing up.