The government is considering proposals to raise the state pension age to 75. Many people wouldn't live long enough to see retirement. It's time to live the life you want to at an earlier age.
If you haven’t retired already, you’ve no doubt given it a lot of thought recently with the news that the government is considering plans to raise the UK state pension age to 75.
Many criticising the Centre for Social Justice report point out that quite a few areas of the UK have a life expectancy of below that age - meaning many people will never actually live to enjoy retirement.
For lifestyle developments like Scalesceugh Hall & Villas, this highlights the need we have emphasised time and again for a change in mindset.
Our homes are unique and encourage a way of living that focuses on happiness and healthiness, whether you are in employment or retirement.
Still, when we are required to tick boxes to fit into categories for directories, social media and more, we often fall into the vague description of ‘retirement homes’ or villas, or community, or living - but that word ‘retirement’ is always there.
Changing the retirement mindset
Government policy (state pension age is already set to rise to 68) and new plans for the age of 75, prove that for many, retirement is a distant, and perhaps, impossible dream.
So the emphasis, the mindset, must focus on living the best life you can, something many people find themselves in a position to do from their 50s onwards, once the children have moved out, once financial burdens become less, once downsizing appears an attractive option.
And there are, of course, those of us who are fortunate enough to be in careers which lead to early retirement around this age, or have saved enough money to enjoy the benefits ahead of time.
'Living is not just about how long we live, but also how we live' - Dr Anita Herdeiro
Dr Anita Herdeiro, co-founder of Scalesceugh Hall & Villas, is passionate about being allowed to live life to the full in your later years.
She says: “As a doctor for the past 20 years I have seen fewer and fewer people regress as they age.
“However, if we are being required to continue working till we are 75, where does the fun come into it?
“Living is not just about how long we live, but also how we live.
“A lot of research has gone into creating places which embrace wellness as a way of life, so irrespective of whether you are working or not, these places help people to live healthier lives.
“This not only allows them to be healthier but also creates a balance of work and life.
The rise of lifestyle developments
“Sweden, USA, New Zealand and various other nations have done this for many years - they are called lifestyle developments.
“We have developed one in Cumbria too, and it is all about instigating that change in your lives, that embracing of wellness, at the critical age of 50-something.”
Anita is understandably proud of the opportunities provided for Scalesceugh homeowners to enjoy life to the full, whether working or in retirement.
Working from home, inside one of the Scandinavian-style villas, is a tempting proposition itself, the rooms up to speed with super-fast broadband and flooded with natural light from full-height windows.
“Our homeowners gain the benefits of living in a community, with the chance to go swimming and visit the cafe in the clubhouse before they head off to work, whether that is virtually or literally,” enthuses Anita.
“Having all this on the doorstep means people can be flexible - could they fit in that massage before work, or should they leave the dip in the pool till after work?
“It is a place that grows with you, adapting to your needs. Living in an environment of like-minded people has also been shown to enhance the experience."
Learning lessons about lifestyle
So what can we learn from the vastly different ways in which Scandinavians and UK politicians look at later years living?
Anita offers: “The point to all of this is learning that the more we invest into our lifestyle, the more healthy and fulfilling lives we lead, irrespective of what the government policies are on retirement.
“Hopefully we can do away with that word altogether.
“The earlier you make the decision to downsize into a lifestyle development, the more time you have to enjoy it .
“The UK has traditionally left it too late, therefore the move has been on a need basis and not through a lifestyle decision.
“It is time for people to reset their mindset and enjoy life before it’s too late to do so.”