How Covid-19 is giving some people a dress rehearsal for retirement

May 05, 2020 by Gary Jefferies

In life, we rarely get the opportunity to have a dress rehearsal when it comes to experiencing what our future may look like. However, with the enforced lockdown, many have been able to live in a similar (albeit not identical) way to their possible retirement. It may make those approaching retirement to reassess whether their plans in place will be sufficient for the life they want to live.

What could happen is that some will either push their retirement back if they can, part retire or phase their retirement more slowly over time. If the plan is still to fully retire, it may be best to secure a complete blueprint of what it is they will do post retirement rather than a general plan to see how it goes once the decision has been made. It is easy to have a plan to exercise more, learn a language or pick up an instrument but as we are finding in the reality of lockdown, it is often more difficult to keep something like that going over time. Travel may make up a significant part of a retirement plan which at present is not possible so this dress rehearsal we are in isn’t perfect.

Where lockdown is able to emulate retirement quite closely, is in relation to challenges to mental and physical health. From people that we have spoken to during lockdown, those coping the best are those who are managing to keep structure to their days and ensuring they are busy as possible given the circumstances. Structure is most noticeably absent when not working as usual, something only magnified by retirement. At Panoramic, we are big advocates of part or phased retirement. This enables you to enjoy working less while still earning income and ensuring you stay current by staying in the working world for longer which has been proven to benefit health.

If you are financially ready to retire fully, but not emotionally, it would be best to remain working. It not only ensures you retain a sense of purpose and remain “current”. Once fully packed up, everything erodes capital completely and outright.

Full retirement also leads to a potential issue that people may not have expected to have a problem with. When a couple has had their own space, their own lives and then are fully retired and spending a majority of their time stuck together from the first day of retirement. If one party has become used to autonomy for 80% of the working week and that has suddenly been interrupted by the spouse being around 100% of the time, it can cause problems.

The working environment won’t just change for those approaching retirement:

For many years there will have been employers sticking to the fact that their work force are not able to work from home and that being present in the office is paramount. Funnily enough, when forced, most firms have been able to adapt quickly, leaving many unsure of why they were not allowed to do so beforehand. Now we have proof that a considerable amount of the UK can work from home for a significant period of time, working from home may become more of the norm. Whilst working from an office is not essential, what comes with it; is. Social interaction, structure in the day and ease of coordinating a workforce will be needed once again but it will be the reliance on someone sitting at their specific desk 9-5 Monday to Friday that takes a back seat.

Travel would decrease as working from home becomes more commonplace, meaning there may be a move away from commuter towns should the commute to cities become less important. Pub quizzes will take place in pubs again but will not disappear is the use of virtual meetings to save time and money with regard to meetings. Another unexpected returner is likely to be the emphasis on there being a spare bedroom when moving to a new house should the need for a home office ever resurface.

Working life is not the only aspect of people’s lives that will change as spending patterns are likely to change post Covid-19. Whilst most have experienced a fall in income, almost everybody has also not had the same levels of expenditure. Aside from online shopping, food and drink, people are spending less so may realise that the expensive part of normal life is not the essentials but the luxuries.

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