What are the benefits of reaching retirement age?

Once, reaching retirement age meant the end of working life and the beginning of ‘old age’ but, today, those of us who belong to the ‘Baby Boom’ generation view retirement somewhat differently.

Written by

Sheila Frampton

Of course, from the outset, our generation differed from previous generations. We were the first real ‘teenagers’ adopting our own fashions rather than those of our parents and listening to ‘different’ styles of music from rock’n’roll to punk.

As a generation, we grew up to value self-reliance, independence and hard work – and to seek a lifestyle of quality and excellence. All this certainly isn’t going to change with retirement – if you’ve worked hard and saved, it’s a time when you can reap the benefits of retirement in terms of both finance and lifestyle.


Q; Is there a difference between retirement age and state pension age?

A:  Yes. Retirement age is when an employee chooses to retire – and some people retire in their 50s and earlier whilst others carry on working into their 70s and 80s.

State pension age is currently 66 for both men and women but will gradually start increasing from May 2026. Between 2026 and 2028 it will rise to 67 and between 2044 and 2046 it will rise to 68. If you intend to retire early and are not sure when is the best time to retire, take a look at our blog here.

Q: What are the financial benefits of reaching retirement age?

State Pension 

Once you reach state pension age, you’ll get a regular, taxable income for the rest of your life depending on the National Insurance contributions you’ve made throughout your life. If you’ve got a workplace pension or a widow’s or widower’s pension or if you choose to continue working part-time or full-time, you’ll still receive your state pension.


No National insurance

Even if you decide to continue working, once you’ve reached state pension age, you won’t need to pay national insurance although you may still pay tax.


Lifestyle discounts

Once you reach your sixties, there are all kinds of discounts and savings on offer – whether you’re hoping to travel across the country, head to the gym or treat yourself to a cinema trip. Hairdressers often offer discounts to pensioners, who are able to treat themselves to a haircut during less busy periods. Many gyms provide discounted, off-peak memberships to older people, organisations like the National Trust and many tourist attractions have senior membership or senior discounts. Many theatres offer discounted tickets for the over 65s.


Cheaper Travel

When you reach a certain age, travelling across the country by rail, coach or bus can cost substantially less.

- Senior Railcards: buying a senior railcard means you’ll get 1/3 off the price of rail travel and there are often exclusive offers which mean you can save even more money on rail journeys. Senior Railcards are available for the over 60s and you can choose a physical, plastic card or a digital version. 

- Senior Coachcards can also be purchased enabling you to travel on the National Express coach service at 1/3 discount on standard and fully flexible fares across the country.

- Once you reach state pension age, you’ll be eligible for free bus pass which will provide you with free local bus travel anywhere in the country.


Free Prescriptions and Eye Tests

When you’re 60, you’ll get free prescriptions anywhere in the UK. Any medicine prescribed by a doctor is free – and this is a real benefit because as we age, we are more likely to have medical conditions. Some opticians offer discounts on glasses and lenses for older patients and it’s possible you’ll be eligible for a free NHS-funded eye test.


Help with winter fuel bills

If you’ve reached state pension age, you’ll received the Winter Fuel Allowance also known as the Winter Fuel Payment which is a one-off, tax-free payment paid to any households where one of the residents is in receipt of the state pension. This is an amount of approximately £500 at the time of writing. There’s also a Cold Weather Payment payable if the temperature is forecasted to be zero degrees or below for 7 consecutive days between 1 November and 31 March when an extra £25 is automatically deposited in your bank account. For full details take a look at our guide to Winter Fuel Allowance.


Disability Allowance

If you’re over state pension age, live in your own home and have been disabled for at least six months and need someone to help look after you, you may be able to claim an Attendance allowance.

Lifestyle Benefits of Reaching Retirement Age

In terms of lifestyle, there are so many benefits of reaching retirement age. If you’ve spent years working hard and supporting a family, you are due some ‘me time’ whether this is enjoying long holidays, city breaks, day trips, visits to a spa or simple pleasures like walking, cycling, dining out or going to the cinema. Here are just some of the benefits of reaching retirement age.

Being able to spend more time with family and friends

Once they are no longer tied to a particular location because of work commitments, many retirees decide to downsize to a more manageable home closer to family and friends. This means that they are able to develop closer relationships with younger family members – and sometimes play a key role in childcare. If you’re considering making a move to make the most of your new leisure time with loved ones take a look at our blog that explores the benefits of moving to be closer to family.

A photo of Castle Gardens, Watlington

Being able to travel – in this country or abroad

After decades being restricted to a few weeks’ annual holiday each year, in retirement you’ll have the freedom to spend time travelling at home or abroad. If you move to a Beechcroft retirement development with an estate management service, you’ll be able to lock up and leave with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that someone is keeping an eye on your property whilst you’re away.

Having the time to take up a new hobby or spend more time doing something you love

When you retire, you’re able to devote more time to a hobby or pastime you enjoy – or perhaps take up a hobby you’ve never had time for before. Sports facilities including gyms and golf courses are less busy during the day – and by joining a club, you’ll meet some new, like-minded people. There’s so much you can do – from fishing and fossil hunting to buying and selling antiques. If you take up a sociable activity like playing bridge, you can certainly widen your social circle. We have offered some ideas in our online blogs.


Learn to play Bridge

This is such a popular game and will certainly help you meet more people in a sociable – if slightly competitive – setting. Take a look at our blog on learning to play the game.


Research your family tree

This can be fascinating, revealing and something to share with the younger family members. There’s a whole host of online resources to get you started. The BBC has a guide to getting started on their website.


Write creatively

They say there’s a novel in each of us and when better to find out when you have the time to find yours. There are countless creative writing classes, courses and retreats across the country to cover all genres including poetry and prose and there are writing groups which can provide constructive feedback on works in progress. Take a look at the Christopher Fielden website for writing competitions, book recommendations and other tips and hints.


Take up home brewing

There’s lot of information online focusing on how to make beer or wine at home – and you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labour. There’s a free online course on the Beercraftr website.


Book a cookery course

For most of us, eating is a pleasure and creating your own restaurant-quality meals is immensely satisfying.


Learn how to upholster your furniture

Give your home a fresh look by reupholstering your existing pieces or furniture you’ve bought from markets or antique shops.

Being able to challenge your mind

Keeping the mind active is so important and retirement can be the perfect time to challenge your brain by learning a new language or skill. If you’ve always wanted to learn a musical instrument, now could be the time to learn or perfect your technique. As our blog shows, the University of The Third Age offers a whole range of classes and courses.

Having time to improve your fitness levels

A review, published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports, found that physically active older adults experience healthier ageing, better quality of life and improved cognitive functioning. There are so many ways of improving fitness lessons, from walking, cycling, walking football, playing golf and lawn bowls to fitness classes, in person and online – browse through our blogs for some inspiration and take a look at our blog on the best fitness classes to try for retirees

Being able to volunteer to help a cause you’re interested in

Volunteering can open a whole new world and bring an immense sense of satisfaction – whether it’s working in the gardens of a National Trust property, helping conservation efforts or working in a charity shop.


Become a tour guide

If you love historic houses, volunteer as a tour guide – the National Trust are always looking for enthusiastic rooms guides. Find out more about volunteering with the National Trust here.


Volunteer with a wildlife organisation

Many wildlife organisations, whether national such as The Wildlife Trusts or more local projects welcome volunteers to help with tasks such as monitoring or recording wildlife or helping with toad patrols.


Join the local amateur dramatics society

You don’t have to be a performer. There are so many other roles within a local society – from helping with costumes to painting scenery, prompting and music.

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