New research from Anchor reveals the nation is ruling out a good quality of life in retirement. 

These worrying attitudes towards ageing are even more concerning as life expectancy is higher than ever. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) life expectancy has increased worldwide by five years in less than two decades. 

The research paints a picture of a nation believing the chances of a happy life diminish significantly after our 60s, with 73% of people not having, or expecting to have, a good quality of life in their 70s and only 13% having, or expecting, happiness in their 80s.

Working with behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings, Anchor is keen to dispel the misconception that life in your 70’s, 80’s and beyond cannot be fulfilling. 

Jo believes how we think about and approach later life is key to happiness and has created a formula for good retirement.

Her formula states that anticipation + appreciation + acceptance = happiness.

Put simply, accepting your situation or being at peace with where you are; letting go of negativity from the past; and having something new in your life to look forward to is the perfect recipe for happiness.

Jo Hemmings' formula for good retirement

Download the full equation formulated by Jo Hemmings, behavioural psychologist here

The research also shows that where we do have aspirations for later life, many of us aren’t seeing them through. Nearly half (47%) of those aged 55+ associate retirement with a chance to learn or do something new, however only 1 in 4 (26%) people the same age have actually done so in the last six months. A stark contrast with 59% of 18-24 year olds.

The findings also showed that there is a disconnect between how younger people view retirement in comparison to those who are closer to it. More than a quarter of 18-24 year olds associate retirement with knitting (26%), golf (26%) and bingo (28%), whereas a smaller minority of those aged 55+ associate retirement with these things; knitting (10%), golf (7%) and bingo (4%). Amongst 18-24s retirement is mostly associated with spending time with grandchildren (69%), whereas 55+ year olds mostly associate retirement with travel (67%), gardening (57%) and learning something brand new (47%). 

Jane Ashcroft CBE, Anchor’s Chief Executive, said: “I am alarmed to see that people are writing off later life. At Anchor we believe retirement should be a time for living and happiness. It’s a stage of life where there is time to try new things, learn new skills, and make new friends.

“Our residents are an inspiration and we work hard to ensure everyone has a good quality of life whether they are in their 60s, 90s or beyond. Everyone is different so there is no one-size-fits-all but positive thinking and planning ahead to avoid leaving later life to chance is vital.”

Jo Hemmings, behavioural psychologist, said: “Happiness is a much studied concept in my field of work - it can be difficult to define, but it needn’t be difficult to achieve. Looking at the results of the research taken out by Anchor, it’s clear that we need to challenge the perceptions that so many have of later life. 

“Although happiness varies from person to person, the anticipation + appreciation + acceptance formula can be applied to anyone. It provides the initial framework of an overall plan for a happy retirement – but ultimately, it is down to each individual to implement it.”

Jane Ashcroft said: "Anchor has residents who are fulfilling their dreams in retirement frequently, read about 70-year-old Terry Keen who cycled 1,400 miles, raising money for charity to collect signatures for a 90th birthday card for the Queen, or Gina and Stanley Altman who are celebrating 60 years together by making a dream come true at The Savoy Theatre for a VIP experience at a showing of Funny Girl."

The Ultimate Bucket list

At Anchor we believe later life is a time for living. With the help of our 40,000 residents we’re redefining the term ‘bucket list’ - why are we making a list in our twenties, thirties or forties and then ripping it up when we hit retirement? Surely when you stop work and have fewer responsibilities is the perfect time to try something new. Anchor residents are taking their retirement as an opportunity to do more, and they have created a new bucket list of activities that, whatever your age, you should consider.  

Download The Ultimate Bucket List here

This list has been created with the help from older people living across the country with Anchor. All of them are united in their belief that you can’t put an age limit on fun, learning or pushing your boundaries.

There is something on this list for everyone; which will you start with?

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