It might seem far-fetched that after 30 or 40 years of daily toil and travail, the freedom of retirement might seem less attractive over time, but it’s true. A survey by Skipton Building Society found that the average retiree gets bored of life in retirement just ten months after leaving work. Here’s what people miss…
The workplace banter and colleagues
People are social creatures and the workplace is usually the most social place we know. Skipton found that for well over half of Brits (54%) the retirement glow wore off because they missed the camaraderie they had at work, while 62% of retired women and 44% of men admitted they missed the banter they shared daily with colleagues.
Your job title (and the feeling of importance that goes with it)
Lots of people define themselves by what they do for a living and get self-esteem from their job title – even carrying this over into retirement. How many retirees do you know who describe themselves as ‘former’ something? Job titles give structure and meaning to people’s place in society, so it’s hardly any surprise that some people feel a loss of self-worth when they give up work – this can be particularly the case for men in more senior positions.
The stress and satisfaction of a job well done
Work can be stressful at times, but with that often comes the satisfaction of a job well done, which can be lacking in retirement. Skipton found that once retired, four in ten felt their mind was no longer being pushed and still felt capable of completing a full time job.
The routine of a 9-5, five days a week
You might hate the drudgery of the 9-5 workday, but it’s ironic that in retirement, more than a third or respondents to a survey by Skipton said they were fed up that every day ended up being the same as the last, while one in five felt completely redundant. Loneliness, boredom, and the feeling of ageing quickly were all cited as reasons why retirement wasn’t as enjoyable as they had imagined.
Time away from the other half
Going from working a full week plus commuting time to spending all your time at home can be a strain on relationships. Research from Skipton found that four in ten couples find it impossible to live with each other during retirement as they’re just not used to spending so much time together after working for so long. Many couples struggle to fill the hours with so much spare time, and probably argue more as a result; in fact, 11% say they disagree about how they will spend their day.
Being kept busy and out of the house
Say what you like – but work does at least keep you busy during the day. Skipton found that a fifth (19%) of retirees thought daytime television was ‘awful’, a quarter (24%) said the great British weather stopped them getting out and about as much as they would have liked, while about one in seven (14%) were taken for granted a little by family, as it became expected for them to run around after children and grandchildren.
Most people’s incomes take a hit in retirement as they move from a monthly wage to living off a pension or other retirement salary. Skipton found that almost a third of retirees (31%) struggled to cope without their monthly wage packet – making it all the more important to have good pension plans in place before leaving work.
What do you think you’ll miss most – or least – when you quit work? What’s taken you by surprise about having free time in retirement? Let us know in the forum!
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.