Health and wealth are key to a happy old age Survey reveals aims and anxieties of older people

09 October 2013

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A new survey reveals the ingredients of a happy retirement, with good health and having enough money to live comfortably coming out top.

Retirement aims and ambitions      

The latest Aviva Real Retirement report looks at the hopes and fears of retirees. Asked to rank the ingredients of a happy retirement, 42% of those aged 65-74 put 'good health' at the top of their list, followed by having enough money to live comfortably. 

Sharing their retirement with a partner was the third most important factor, followed by a happy family life. The importance of companionship appears to increase with age.

The rising cost of living was the main financial fear faced by those surveyed, with 76% putting it top. Unexpected expenses were next (44%), followed sudden illness (19%). Anxiety about living costs was also detected by the latest Which? Quarterly Consumer Report, with fuel, energy and food being of particular concern, to all age groups, but especially those aged over 65.     

Best and worst financial decisions

Looking back at their best and worst financial decisions, 96% identified paying off their mortgage as the best thing they'd done. Starting a workplace pension was similarly valued, with 94% putting it in their top three.

People having burnt their fingers seemed to influence the worst financial decisions. Almost a third (29%) regretted taking a chance on the stock exchange, while 27% had second thoughts about emigrating and 18% on starting their own business.

Experience and advice  

Asked what advice they would give to others, retirees said making better use of savings products (such as an Isa), taking out a workplace pension and starting pension contributions earlier in life.

Commenting on the Autumn 2013 Real Retirement Report, Aviva director Clive Bolton said: 'Beginning to save for retirement as early as possible remains the best way to promote your financial freedom'.  

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