Is it time to retire the word ‘retirement’?

18 Jan, 2023

In the past, one day, in your 60’s, you got your gold watch, at a polite send off, hung up your briefcase and joined the bowls club.

That was that.

No more work.


Mind you, you had an annuity to keep you in scones and teacakes in perpetuity.
The modern world isn’t really like that.

For many, work does not just come to an abrupt halt, one fateful day, a few weeks after that significant birthday.
People now are working long after retirement age.

Not in the all the hours God sends, necessarily. Not in a get shouted at by your boss sort of way.
But in a way that suits them.

Maybe a few days a week. Maybe a few hours a week.

Not least because, many don’t feel old enough to completely retire, even though the mileometer says they are.
And then of course there was the Pandemic.

That changed everything.

In the Pandemic a lot of couples in their 50’s decided to flee the cities at the height of the outbreak. And discovered that living somewhere out in the country was not only less stressful but also a lot cheaper. Yet, thanks to the miracle of broadband, they could still do their jobs just as well.

Many, who were furloughed, found other things to occupy their time, which turned into lucrative, albeit time-consuming, side-hustles.

A few, seduced by the freedom of not having to wear a business suit and compete in the rat race, chose to jack it in altogether.

They’d make ends meet, doing something else.

Hence there’s now a generation out there who are of retirement age who are still working for the companies they always had, are enjoying a second career with their new-found passion for whittling, or have found a way to sell their consultancy expertise online.

And good luck to them.

But there’s also another, sadder, group of pensioners who are still working.

People whose pension arrangements have failed to meet their outgoings.

Especially those whose spouses have passed away early, leaving a gaping hole in their income and who are choosing to return to the world of work not just because they need the money but, also, because they’re lonely.

So now, all of a sudden, there is a significant proportion of folk with thinning grey hair who are no longer going to be sitting in front of daytime television with their feet up but instead are going to be sitting in front of computer screens grafting away, at home, or in the office.

Or even working in Tesco’s stacking shelves.

And if you want to talk to them about financial services-and pension issues in particular- it’s not enough to have a grinning couple riding a bike a tandem in the Dales or sitting in deckchairs while the sun sets over a glassy sea.
Because that’s simply not their experience.

And there’s no point in taking a simplistic targeting approach anymore either, because the word ‘pensioner’ has multiple meanings these days.

Not just in terms of lifestyle but also in practical ways to do with new complexities of tax and allowances connected to earned income.

The reality is, when it comes to pensions, all of us, especially the ones in marketing, are going to have to start working a lot harder and longer in future.