To kick off on a cheerful note: delightfully-named Pudsey, situated between Bradford and Leeds, is holding a ‘Golden Years’ day this Friday, 25 October, a great opportunity for the older generation to meet and mingle.
Even though the title might make the odd 50+ individual wince, what could be described as an ‘awareness’ day for the 50+ is a good idea and part of a trend to get seniors to make the most of what is on offer out there.
There won’t just be entertainment, there will also be a lot of stalls to do with solicitors, pensions, investment, computers, the internet and emails, property abroad, holidays and health. This should make it easier for the 50+ to tackle issues they feel they are too young to deal with yet, or for those who have a deep aversion for any sort of policy and administration.
Given our society is fixated with youth and glamour, it is difficult to recognise that some people are indeed older and dare one say it, have health issues, are less adventurous, are more worried, more tentative and doubtful of the benefits of society offers them.
The way to make the mounting years fulfilling is not to become a recluse in a comfort zone and not bothering to cook nutritious food or not mix and mingle with people outside of family.
Some people are going to be forced to continue to get up early each morning and mix and mingle at work (according to The Daily Telegraph), way past their traditional 60—65 retirement age. In a survey by insurer Metropolitan Life, 49 per cent expect to work over 65, while 40 per cent of those expect to work part time after retirement. Soon there is likely to be one million people of 65+ still in work. Only one quarter of the survey respondents said they would retire completely at 65.
I think all this is a good thing, provided the eternal worker is fit and keen to carry on, and the employer is keen too. It won’t do the economy any good to have fagged-out toilers (40+ years in the saddle), who are forced to hang on because the pension age keeps being postponed by the government.
I have a friend who teaches. She is 60, in good health and doesn’t want to retire for a long time yet. She would love to go part time but that is impossible at her school. She is worried about what to do with herself when retired. She will probably not have this fear as she approaches 70, assuming she is allowed to teach that long. At the moment she thinks she will continue to have sufficient energy.
Another friend shows a different approach, she has been working part time running a homeopathy practice (she would be happy to work full time but there is not enough work). She has another three years to go before she is 60, but she says she is definitely stopping work then. This is partly because it isn’t taking enough of her time for her to feel driven about it and there comes a point in our lives when we ask “why sweat?”.
Sadly, so many people fade away (especially in a recession), on the work front in their 50s and early 60s because they can no longer find enough work to fill their days, or if they can, it is poorly paid and boring.
As the home-hunting season, like the National Trust, draws to a close, here is something to think about during the winter months. As we all know, a great many 50+ have a lot to be grateful for when they bought houses and flats all those years ago, and worked up the housing ladder. Thank Mammon, again, for property and its benefits.
According to the Prudential, 80 per cent of retired homeowners are planning to downsize and buy something smaller. Apparently the average amount of net cash in hand will be around £60,000. So far, the reliability of property prices over the decades has enabled many people to bridge the gap between life style and the inadequate size of their pension.
Many can afford to give their financially beleaguered children freed-up cash to help them get on the property ladder, but don’t be too generous – we are all set to live until 90 these days.
But this all makes a lot of sense and apart from anything else it loosens up the housing market.