Ambitions and dreams of the over-55s

From skydiving, marriage and travel to learning new skills: what would your goals be for retirement?

In early 2018 we interviewed 2,000 homeowners aged 55 and over, to ask them about their goals and aspirations for the future. We wanted to find out what excited them about their retirement and how big a role money, health and love played in achieving their happiness.

Legal & General Lifetime mortgages: Life goals

Legal & General Lifetime mortgages: Life goals video

Transcript: Legal & General Lifetime mortgages: Life goals

Running time: 1 mins 24 secs

"One of my goals was to write a book, which I’ve now finished after three years.  I intend to give it to the family for Christmas.  So that’s one goal then, and then I need to find a hobby."

"I’ve been in amateur dramatics all my life, you know, and I’ve got all my entertainment and enjoyment from that. You know, I’ve just loved doing it. I did play Mr Sowerberry in Oliver the musical and I did play, um, I’m having a senior moment, it was the railway cat in Cats the big show, I can’t think of his name now."

"Well we go off to Torquay, we went last year, and we’re going up again this year. We do sequence dancing, it’s great fun. About 52 of us going."

"I’ve been on three world cruises. I work part time at a doctor's surgery and it gives me enough money to travel, rather than spending it, using my savings. That’s the main thing."

Today's over-55s are young at heart and have plenty of ambition

Retirement today appears to be a very different time in individuals' lives than has been the case for previous generations. Our research suggest that:

  • 7 in 10 of respondents still have clear life goals that they’d like to achieve.
  • 8 in 10 claimed to feel younger than their biological age.
  • Nearly one fifth said that this was the period in which they achieved most of their life goals.

Many of us have common goals

Travel and self-improvement featured heavily in respondents answers, however there were a number of ambitions that might be seen as slightly rebellious. Buying a new sports cars or motorbikes, getting a tattoo, volunteering and even mountain climbing were mentioned. Being older no longer means being less active.

The top 10 life goals

  1. Travel more
  2. Visit Australia
  3. Learn a foreign language
  4. Retire
  5. Drive along Route 66 in America
  6. Move abroad
  7. Downsize your home
  8. Go to more gigs and concerts
  9. Pay off the mortgage
  10. Eat in a Michelin-starred restaurant

Love knows no boundaries

For many, finding love was important. Dating and returning to the dating scene was mentioned by a number of respondents. It might come as no surprise therefore that many showed an interest in their health and personal appearance. Some respondents planned to use a personal trainer and hone an impressive six-pack and a few even stated that they were prepared to go under the knife to attain their ideal body.

Why have life goals?

The majority of respondents we questioned, stated that having life goals was important to them, and more than two thirds stated that they were doing everything within their power to achieve their goals.

So is anything holding them back from achieving their goals?

Perhaps unsurprisingly, money was the biggest barrier for many to reaching their life goals, as was time. Almost 1 in 3 stated that a lack of time was stopping them from achieving their goals.

What steps are people taking to make their retirement years as good as possible?

Many people talked about their health with 22% indicating that they had spent time actively working to improve their health and fitness. Other people indicated that they intended to improve their retirement by downsizing, continuing to work or delaying their retirement to build a bigger pension pot. Only 4% of respondents indicated they had released equity from their homes to give themselves a better quality of retirement, despite the fact that the over-55s are sitting on more than £1 trillion in housing wealth.

Did men and women differ in their concerns?

The survey indicated that females worry more about her hair, maintaining their homes and their personal appearance than men. And men had more concerns over personal relationships in retirement than women did.  

What would your plan be?

One respondent expressed regret at ‘drifting instead of having a plan’ although only 6% stated they felt their life had turned out exactly as they had planned.

Divorce, the death of loved ones and ill health were difficult life events that were hard to think about and plan for. Indeed many respondents were shocked by the pain of divorce and loss and family conflicts generated some colourful language!  

Many stated that the behaviour of step-children, ex-partners and loved ones could unexpectedly inflict pain and change the course of one’s careful plan forever.

The future is bright

Life doesn't stop when people get to retirement. And in fact many of our respondents suggested that they were having the time of their lives. Whether it’s exploring new ventures, improving their physical well-being or fulfilling long held dreams of self-development, ambition is definitely not something that seems to be holding people back any longer. The future for UK retirees looks bright.

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A lifetime mortgage from Legal & General is a loan secured against your home. It lets you release some of the money tied up in your home, without having to move, as tax-free cash. A lifetime mortgage will reduce an inheritance and there may be cheaper ways to borrow money.