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Planning Retirement Online


‘Encore’ careers for retirees not ready to put their feet up

Alan Irvine, Chairman, Homesitters Ltd

With people living longer than ever it could be the end of retirement as we know it. According to Public Health England (1) life expectancy has risen to its highest ever level and a recent report published by the Resolution Foundation think tank (2) reveals that nearly one in seven Britons will be over 75 by 2040.

Funding a longer retirement will be a challenge for some people and many will be working later into life.

Research from the national market leader in retirement rentals, Girlings Retirement Rentals (3) in 2016 revealed that almost three quarters of people want to travel more when they retire but that many worry they won’t have the finances to attain the lifestyle they aspire to.

As they get older many people tend not to want to continue with a traditional nine to five job instead preferring a more flexible role.

One option growing in popularity for retired and semi-retired people is home and pet-sitting - earning money by moving into people’s homes and looking after their home and pets when they go away.

The role appeals because of the flexibility it offers and the chance to explore different parts of the UK and spend time with pets.

Homesitters Ltd, the nation’s leading home and pet sitting company, employs mostly retired people as home and pet sitters. With the business expanding we’re always looking for new recruits. Homesitters are paid a modest remuneration as well as food and travel expenses, while also saving money on their own household bills when they are away from home.

Janet and Steve Groom from near Tunbridge Wells, Kent became homesitters in 2012. Steve had become disillusioned with his job after 32 years in the civil service and was fed up of the nine to five routine. The couple decided to take early retirement which they financed by downsizing their home to become full time home and pet sitters.

The couple are enjoying the home and pet-sitting lifestyle, they stay in luxurious properties and looking after animals has become a real highlight.

Janet says, “We love being homesitters and the best thing is the animals, we have so much fun with them. It would be too restricting to have a dog of our own but through home and pet-sitting we get to have ‘part time’ pets with all of the love and none of the long term responsibility, which suits us perfectly.

“We often have to pinch ourselves to believe some of the homes we stay in. How else would you get to experience living in such gorgeous houses with swimming pools and beautiful gardens?” The couple mainly look after dogs and cats but have also looked after a goat, sheep and chickens.

Another homesitter, Londoner Peter Green is in his early 70s and has been home and pet-sitting for almost 10 years since retiring from a job in retail.

Peter says, “One of the advantages of home and pet-sitting is the flexibility. I can pick and choose when I work and how much work I take on and fit it around spending time with my family and friends. I am so enthusiastic about the experiences I have had that my sister has become a homesitter too. I think the ideal homesitter needs to love animals, come with an open mind and be confident. However, once you have done one assignment, it all comes quite naturally.”

As it becomes more common to work until we are older and more people have ‘encore’ careers, it is reassuring to know that there are enjoyable and flexible opportunities available.

To find out more visit or call on 01296 630 730.



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