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9 ingredients for a deliciously brilliant retirement transition

Thursday , July 21, 2016

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The perfect recipe for retirement begins with a list of the right ingredients – a base of relaxation, a healthy helping of exploration and a dash of dream realisation. But don’t forget about preparation and timings; get these right and your transition will be as smooth as Mary Berry’s icing.

  • It’s never too late to realise your dreams
  • Retirement is a concept that's changing entirely
  • Start a business, write a book, record an album


Plan ahead and pick a date to retire. This isn’t an end of something; it’s a new start to your life – a recent study performed concluded that 60+ is the new middle age, so plan to keep yourself busy. [1]

There’s no rush, so make sure you choose a date that leaves you enough time to plan for your retirement, build up enough of a pension fund and organise your nest eggs, so you can start your new life as you mean to go on from day one.


1. A dash of realisation

Retirement is the time for living out your dreams, learning new skills and broadening your horizons. Don’t be afraid to turn up the heat, says Suzanne Noble, co-founder of The Advantages of Age – whether that’s learning a foreign language, taking up a hobby you never had time for, or meeting new people of all ages and from all walks of life.

"We see our life past 50 as a time when hopes and dreams can come to fruition and creativity can blossom,’ she says. ‘It’s that time of life when you can do what you want.”

Struggling to decide how to decorate your retirement with new activities? The University of the Third Age has centres all over the UK, which host many diverse activities for retirees.

2. Cook up a storm with old passions

It’s never too late to write that novel, paint that masterpiece or record that album. Septuagenarian Pepi Lemer, who used to work as a vocal coach for the Spice Girls has just released her first solo jazz-influenced disc, Back2Front, and is headlining gigs across the country – all after beating oesophageal cancer.

‘You are never too old to reconnect with a passion,’ she says. ‘Learn to accept and be proud of yourself. Even if you face a very steep climb, life is all about experience.’

3. Companionship is the secret ingredient

Sometimes it helps to have an extra pair of hands in the kitchen, so why not get out there and meet new people? Over 80% of retirees rely on a strong network of friends to stay happy, according to McCarthy & Stone’s Colour Report, while 58% have made new friends in the last month. [2]

Also, engaging regularly with close friends helps to keep your mind active and can prevent cognitive decline, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.[3]

4. Write a shopping list of experiences

You may be missing some key ingredients in the cupboard that will make your retirement extra special, so make a list and start ticking them off.

Work out what you may have missed out on, whether that’s running a marathon, spending more time with friends and family or taking a risk. It’s never too late to make sure you don’t have regrets in later life.

5. Have your cake and eat it

There’s no need to stop earning money when you retire; it could be the start of a whole new entrepreneurial phase of your life. According to the Office for National, 40% of self-employed workers are over 50. [4]

In many cases, those working after retirement age are enjoying it. In fact, 87% of these ‘grey collar workers’ (as they have been labelled) are happy to continue working after the age of 65, according to the LV= State of Retirement report.

Even if you don’t have a desire to run your own business, you still have a wealth of knowledge and wisdom, and there are plenty of people who would pay for you to serve this up to them as a mentor.

6. Share a slice with someone

You may feel retirement is your time to be selfish, but Steven Sylvester, author of WithoutEgo, believes that it’s important to focus selflessness in a new way.

‘Think about what you can do to serve your community more and give to others,’ he recommends. ‘By giving a bit back during your retirement you can enhance your self-regard and happiness for a brighter retirement overall.’

7. A flavour of something exotic

Retirement is the perfect opportunity to travel the globe. Even if you’re on a budget, it's still possible, with websites such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing making it far cheaper to find a room or bed in another country while meeting and learning about the locals.

Looking for a change of scene without hotel hopping? Try pet sitting or house sitting: looking after peoples’ pets and ensuring their properties are safe when they’re away.

Examples of the boom in popularity of the ‘sharing economy’, which PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts will be worth £9 billion to the UK in 2025, house and pet sitting are often cheap options for people looking for a holiday or some time with a furry friend. [5]

8. It’s all a matter of perspective

Jonathan Collie, co-founder of The Age of No Retirement, believes that retirement doesn’t exist, and that future retirees need a totally new mindset in order to fully appreciate their later years.

‘We now benefit from an extra 10 years of healthy life, in the middle of our lives – a whole decade,’ he observes. ‘We should look at this life phase with the same optimism we had when we left school. You can have a third of your life to look forward to.’

9. Top it all off with a little ‘me time’

Okay, a bit of selfishness is fine. There should be time to enjoy your retirement with some relaxation: have the odd lie-in; catch up on some on-demand TV; discover a new author; toast yourself with a glass of wine. As long as you have found the right measure of all your ingredients and planned your retired life to perfection, then you can look forward to a deliciously brilliant retirement.

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