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Rise of the pre-tirees: Britain's relationship with retirement

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We’ve all pictured our retirement at some point or another. The day we finally stop working and can enjoy a life full of the things we didn’t previously have time for. It’s a time to celebrate, to give yourself a pat on the back for the years you’ve spent grinding away, transitioning from one stage of life to the next practically overnight.

But according to a recent report from peer-to-peer lending platform Zopa (released in December 2014), the transition from working life to retirement isn’t quite as seamless as it used to be.

Is the finish line moving?

Forget the sudden end to work; according to the report - which asked 2,000 50-80 year olds their views on retirement - it’s now a gradual process taking place over a number of years, or even decades. Of those asked, almost half (49%) agreed that retirement was a much more ‘fluid process’ than it used to be, with one in five (21%) saying they didn’t or don’t want to stop working once they reach 65.

Rise of the pre-tirees

‘Pre-tirees’ - in their 50s, 60s and even 70s -  were found to ease themselves into retired life gradually by reducing their working hours so they could spend more time doing other things such as volunteering, exercising or studying. 12% set up their own business, 9% changed career and 45% started travelling more frequently.

Though many continued to work beyond state retirement age, a third of 50-54 year olds said they were choosing to cut back working hours earlier in the retirement planning process.

Why the change?

There are several factors that could play a part in our changing relationship with retirement. Increasing life expectancy is one, along with changes to the state retirement age meaning we may well have to work for longer than originally planned.

However, with important legal changes in the workplace meaning employers can no longer impose their own retirement age, except in exceptional circumstances, those approaching retirement have more flexibility with their working lives than ever before.

Businesses are starting to offer reduced or more flexible hours to staff who are approaching retirement, giving them greater freedom to wind down from work on their own terms.

Are you planning to spend your pre-retirement gradually winding down from work or will you work full-time until the day you retire? Has retirement become a more fluid process or is it just down to the individual? We’d love to hear your views so please share them with us below.

This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.

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