In our ‘Rest Less Real Life Retirement Stories’ series, we talk to people about their lifestyle and what makes up their income in retirement.
People’s retirement stories are incredibly varied. Many continue working part-time well into retirement these days, as well as pursuing hobbies, and other activities. Meanwhile, pension freedom rules introduced in 2015 opened up a wide range of options when it comes to producing a retirement income. For some, retirement is the start of a new and exciting life stage, and we would like to share your stories as valued members of our community.
Here, Rest Less Member Sue Jones, 55, from Leceister, tells us her retirement story.
- How old were you when you retired and what prompted you to retire then?
- What is your annual income in retirement and how does this compare to your pre-retirement income?
- What makes up your retirement income?
- How are you spending your time in retirement?
- How have your spending patterns changed in retirement?
- What do you wish you’d known about retirement planning before you retired?
How old were you when you retired and what prompted you to retire then?
“I was 54 when I left teaching, which was a year before I was officially able to claim my Teacher’s Pension. I’d saved some money and couldn’t carry on as I hated the job so much.
“I was a secondary school French teacher. I’d been teaching for about 30 years, and all but the last three years were full-time, with 14 years in leadership positions. But I worked out that I was better off retiring then with a pension based on a higher salary, rather than a part-time salary at age 60.
“As well as hating the job, I know that life is short. I lost my husband about five years ago, and then my partner during lockdown, so it felt like the right time to make the most of life.”
What is your annual income in retirement and how does this compare to your pre-retirement income?
“My retirement income is about £34,000 a year compared to about £29,000 a year as a part-time teacher.”
What makes up your retirement income?
“It’s made up of my Teacher’s Pension, a widow’s pension, and some income from part-time work at Leicester’s Curve Theatre. I work in the cafe or the bar there a few days a week and earn about £500 a month from that.”
How are you spending your time in retirement?
“I’m very active and out and about all the time, and meeting people who aren’t teachers for once in my life! I also get free tickets for a lot of the shows at the theatre I work at. I enjoy working there, and wanted to do something different. I’d never worked in a bar or made proper coffee before but you really feel part of the team.
“I’m careful to structure my day as I was so used to doing that when I was working as a teacher. I swim and run pretty much every day, either in the morning or after work. I go to the local independent cinema twice or three times a week. I’m quite happy doing stuff on my own. I read a lot and I’ve got much better at being at home and simply relaxing. I see it as something I can do as part of my day. I do an hour’s walk per day, sometimes that involves going to the shops or meeting up with someone.
“I also love travelling and I’m often away. My son is in Newcastle and daughter’s in London so I travel to see them, and enjoy going to France and Spain. One of my favourite places is Malaga.
“I’m finally relaxing into retirement but it probably took me a year to do that. It’s great and I’m making the most of it.”
How have your spending patterns changed in retirement?
“I spend more on travel and home improvements. As I spend more time at home I notice things that need doing, so I’ve had the front garden repaved and things like that. I spend far less on clothes, and on fuel because I can walk to work. I probably spend less on food as I’ll cook one big batch and that’ll do for four nights.”
What do you wish you’d known about retirement planning before you retired?
“Nothing in particular as I knew I could survive on my pension income, and I had the job in the theatre lined up when I left teaching. I was also always good at spending time on my own. I think that’s important as loneliness is a worry for many people.”
If you’re considering getting professional financial advice, Aviva is offering Rest Less members a free initial consultation with an expert to chat about your financial situation and goals. There’s no obligation, but if they feel you’d benefit from paid financial advice, they’ll go over how that works and the charges involved.