An early retirement can often seem like a dream when you’re stuck in the thick of the daily grind but for many, giving up work abruptly can mean a loss of structure, social connections and even purpose in life.
In fact, a recent study from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) cited that there were now more people aged 50 and older in work or looking for work than since just before the pandemic.
The reason people choose to go back to work or “unretire” can differ, but it can come with a host of benefits including job creation, health and wellbeing and innovation – especially because those with a few more years on their clock have a wealth of knowledge, and incredible life experiences to share.
Mike Reid, Founder and Chairman of Goldster, a digital platform that provides over 450 expert-led classes to provide benefits for the mind, body and soul, shares six reasons why many retirees are returning to work
1. Kick boredom to the kerb
Currently, the UK age for retirement is 66, while life expectancy is 79 for men and 83 for women. This means the average British female spends 17 years in retirement – that’s over 6,200 days – which is a very long time considering they need to fathom not just how to fill those days, but better still, how to really enjoy them.
We need to reframe and instead of spending some of the greatest years of our lives twiddling our thumbs while time slips by feeling bored, unretirement can provide structure, community and the opportunity to get back out there, keeping the mind, body and soul aligned all the while making new friends, picking up enjoyable skills through hobbies such as yoga or painting and maybe earning some extra cash along the way with employment.
2. Stimulate the mind
Maintaining a strong cognitive state can support healthy ageing and ‘going to work’ can actually be beneficial. Retiring at 66 might not necessarily be the best move for everyone. In fact, our experts advise doing the opposite and embracing new experiences as we age because it will stimulate the brain and make us feel great. This can involve taking up a job, enjoying fitness classes or developing new hobbies and interests.
Strengthen the mind by reading a new book, taking up art, gardening, creative writing or learning a new language. Make sure that you pursue something you enjoy, so you’ll never view it as a chore later down the line.
3. Boost emotional wellbeing
Loneliness is widely recognised as a major problem. Did you know that 1.4 million people over the age of 65 in the UK are often lonely, according to Age UK? Feeling isolated can disrupt sleep and increase stress. However, going back to work can help with loneliness and avoid long-term depression. The workplace can help to stay connected, with socialising and interacting –ultimately helping to boost self-confidence. Alternatively, try a book club, choir or walking group. Even online interaction is better than none at all and make sure you can laugh with your friends because it will strengthen those relationships and create a true sense of happiness.
Working can also build a much-needed routine. Lack of structure can create endless days that run together and lead to restlessness. A routine or schedule can provide a framework to live your life and enjoy daily activities. Taking up a job, classes with regular schedules, or even your own activity calendar will promote your health and wellbeing. It’s all about feeling good.
4. Let’s get physical
The older we get, the weaker our muscles become – although I hate to admit this – so physical activity is ‘a must’ to maintain strength and endurance. Unretirement means you can try your hand at something that gets you up and about more than previously. Even vowing to spend more time on your feet instead of sitting down will give your overall health the kick it probably needs.
While you’re in the mood to get going, think about a new sport or hobby. If you’ve always wanted to give yoga a try, go for it – nothing’s stopping you! Or if you used to dance the night away, but haven’t done so for a while, turn on your favourite music and start moving around! Dancing, in particular, can help with improving stamina, core strength, balance and physical coordination. Remember, it doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous – even thai chi or going for a stroll will tick some very beneficial boxes.
5. Become a mentor
As an unretiree, you’ll have decades of work experience, knowledge and wisdom to share with the younger generation and you should never underestimate its value. Your sage advice will help young people with their personal development and advance in their careers, all of which can have a trickle-down effect through the workforce
The reverse is also true. Those unretiring can also learn new skills and gain new insights from the younger people they spend time alongside. They also get to stay up-to-date with societal changes and new technologies, which is means you’ll understand more of what your grandchildren are talking about – which is always a challenge!
6. Generate income
According to Government statistics, one-third of all workers in the UK are over the age of 50, and a large study undertaken in 2017 found that a quarter of retirees changed their minds and headed back to work, usually within five years of having clocked-off.
Income was found to be a major motivation – 50 per cent who chose to unretire were still paying off their mortgages. While you might already have a healthy pot which you’ve worked hard over the years to build, there’s no harm in topping this up. Why stay at home when you could be earning extra money? This could also be used for investments, taking an extra special holiday or buying something to spoil yourself – you deserve it and now is the time to enjoy your savings, because we all know… you can’t take it with you!