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Planning Retirement Online

The Laterlife Challenge
Making the most of retirement

Past examples of  LaterLife Challenge entries

Take a look at what others are doing in their retirement. We hope it will inspire you to enter the  Challenge and share how you are making the most of retirement (you can remain anonymous if you wish). Don't forget you can win a great prize just by entering.

Christine receiving her award from Tony Clack (MD of Laterlife) in the clubhouse of Greetham Valley Golf ClubJohn standing on the wing of the Warrior in which he learnt to flyRoy at 'the sea walls' Bristol

Laterlife Challenge Entries

Why not enter the Laterlife Challenge yourself?
We'd love to hear how you are spending your retirement whatever you are doing

Alan from Wells

Hello, I am Alan who was divorced 2 years ago, when I was 64 years old, and now no longer see my sons or ex-wife (their choice). To avoid depression and give myself a reason for getting up in the mornings, I started keeping ex-battery chickens and soon went on to have 6 ducks from somebody who wanted them to go to a good home.

Things escalated and I now have 8 hens, 11 ducks and 2 bantams. I do not get that many eggs, which I sell to offset the feed bill, but they give me a lot of pleasure just watching them. Each chicken has its own personality, less so the ducks. Although they have taken over much of the garden, I cannot imagine life without them now. I cannot afford, nor want, holidays, so do not mind the responsibility 365 days a year - of course, if I met somebody else, that could change, but it is very unlikely.


Annette from Rochdale

My name is Annette. I am 64 years old and I started my new life of retirement on my 60th birthday when I came home to find my children had bought me some paints, an easel and canvas. I'd never had a painting lesson but I took a photo of one of my daughters and painted her portrait. People were amazed (mostly me!) and I started getting offers of money if I'd paint grandchildren etc.

My next project was writing. I'd been on radio with my poetry when I was young (40 years ago!) but had gone no further. I decided to stop being a wimp and learn to use the computer and start to do Poetry on Demand. Writing unique and lovely stuff for people who wanted a special gift. I'd always given it away (still do) but am making a web site to try and sell this as I live on a basic pension.

My next project was to (for the first time) direct a play for my local church and at Easter, we produced His Last Days which was awesome so I'm told. I found I love acting as well and am quite good at it and I write the scripts.

Having looked after my mum till last year when she died at 90, (she had altzheimers), I continue to take an elderly lady out each week to lunch and market. I am going on a mission abroad to care for some poor people in the Appelations (is that how it's spelt?') as I've always wanted to help the hurt and homeless. Obviously I combine these activities with babysitting my grandchildren and doing other granny and mummy things.

Oh yes, I started doing all this after having a heart attack. I also have Crohns Disease, COPD and arthritis in the knees but hey, if I don't do it now, I'll never get started and life is now full and fun and very satisfying. The only limits we have as older folk are in our own heads. If you've always wanted to do it. Do it now. Annette Keeble Martens. ps. If you want to read my poetry, you can find it by typing in Annette Martens on the UK website and clicking on my name. Its free to download.


Joan from Leeds

I am now involved in The community Group for two sheltered housing schemes. I participate by writing a newsletter each month detailing Activities, social events and excursions that we try to provide for our members. I report on the discussions I have with the local council and the actions we are taking to bring our complexes into the 21st century. I investigate and apply for funds to provide monies for running costs and one off projects.

We recently had a Garden Fayre and raised money for our Group and a local children's hospice. As treasurer of the Group I look after petty cash and bank accounts. I produce monthly financial and management accounts and present these to the committee.

Although we have only been running for 6 months, we have a very active schedule. Gentle exercise, Coffee mornings, Social events and excursions are just some of the activities our members enjoy. They all help and enjoy each others company. This group has reduced isolation for all our members.

I had not expected to be able to contribute as much as I have, because I had to leave work at a young age due to ill health. I can stop when I am not well, Work when I can and everyone appreciates what I do, so I don't have the stress that I used to have at work. 10 years on, I feel alive again.


Andrea from Walsall

I retired at 60 with the intention of travelling the world, but the best laid plans do not always come to fruition. Shortly after I retired my mother fell and broke her hip. It was obvious that she would no longer be able to live independently and the decision was made that she would need to move into a nursing home.

This left me with the challenge of clearing her flat. I could have called in someone to take everything away but that would have upset mum and also been a sad waste. I decided to try to sell it all on Ebay. This way someone else will get pleasure and use from mum's belongings and also her top up fees in the nursing home are taken care of.

Now many of my days are spent taking photographs, listing items, packing and posting. Not wildly exciting but it has been a real challenge for me. In between I do normal granny things. I take care of my youngest grandson a couple of days most weeks and what a pleasure that is for me and for him too, I think, as he gets to 'help' me in the garden and eat the fruits of our labour.


Richard from Edinburgh

I took voluntary early retirement in April 2008 at the tender age of 56. In the beginning I felt as if I was on vacation. I certainly used my early free time to take my MG to the north of France and drive around the many small villages of one of my favourite countries.

A couple of months later I opted to take a cheaper and more relaxed holiday to the South of France and flew from Edinburgh to Nice. I stayed for a month in a mobile home in St Raphael, toured by local transport and also rented a car for the more distant journeys into the Esterel mountains.

August in Edinburgh sees the International Festival in the city and it had been many years since I had attended most of the shows and walked the streets like a tourist. Well with time on my hands I became a tourist in my home town visiting museums, shows, historic sites, lectures in universities, walks (some free tourist ones down the historic Royal Mile) and seeing many of the visiting performers who bring their own style of show to The Fringe.

Autumn soon arrived so time to take the caravan to warmer climates. Devon and Cornwall are British favourite of mine so six weeks there was a very welcome break. Meeting people in the caravanning fraternity, bowling clubs (as a playing visitor I was made most welcome) and generally speaking with people to learn local habits, customs and life.

Time now to prepare for the onset of winter and the festive season - that time already? As fate had it my local college in Edinburgh had spent several millions on a new sport facility and opened it up to members of the public. However it was cheaper to become a student and get access to the swimming pool and gym at anytime throughout the seven days of the week and not be limited to off peak hours. So it was I was persuaded to become a mature student. I had used computers throughout my working life but really I did not have any formal qualifications. This opportunity therefore presented two objectives and I began to study twice a week for qualifications in Microsoft Office known as ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence).

To motivate me in using the facilities of the Club I enrolled into the twice weekly aquafit club. As a 57 year old (birthday had come and gone by now) I seemed to be the "toy boy" of the classes. It is really regrettable that I was the sole male in the class of 12. Why? Considering that statistically the male does not last as long as the female this seems a lost opportunity and makes me wonder if there is a marketing opportunity here? Ah here I go trying to delve into mental games and pondering some of the reasons for life and its alternative, something with time on my hands I seem to to do more often nowadays. For a short while at the start of retirement I had thought of becoming a consultant in marketing and management but thankfully I changed direction, fast! Anyway I was made very welcome to these classes and I make a diary appointment that in addition to the aquafit I also swim on three other days each week. I am not preparing to swim the Channel so I take my time, relax and enjoy my time in the pool, steam room etc. The gym has all the modern equipment but is usually well attended with those more energetic souls (and also younger!) and it is not something that appeals to me at this time. However the opportunity is there for gentle exercise in the winter months.

In May 2009 I successfully qualified in my studies for ECDL - job done! Summer approaching what next? I used to sail and in my younger days owned a sail boat. Reading some magazines reminded me of the fun I used to have on the water and so it was I enrolled on a Powerboat course with the local authoriity at Port Edgar just outside Edinburgh. This was a full two day course over a weekend but on successful completion would present me with a driving licence for powerboats acceptable across Europe and allow me to rent a boat up to 10 metres anywhere in the EU. Doing this in the South of France sometime in the future sounded too good to be true. In June I passed and I am now a member of RYA with a qualification that opens new doors ahead.

As a student I was entitled to certain discounts and when a good secondhand guitar came my way I took the opportunity. Now I am no Bob Dylan or Eric Clapton but the thought of entertaining myself and learning a new and hopefully enjoyable skill (to my, and others, ears) seemed too good to miss. I now have the equipment and I am currently looking for the best facility to learn properly and with support. A "job" for the coming winter perhaps? I have planned to continue with my studies at college and I have reserved a place in advanced computing. September will see if that goes ahead.

Every Sunday, as a qualified bowls coach, I take a class at the local authority sports hall for disabled bowlers. These people range from difficult learning, downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, stroke victims etc. but it is an extremely rewarding opportunity to help them achieve their goals and ambitions whilst at the same time giving them the independence and satisfaction of a fun day out.

As you can see much of my time is accounted for but as summer goes into Autumn again I have new plans for the coming year. In addition to my weekly regime of swimming a new Tai Chi class starts in August, studies resume in September, touring caravan holiday in Norfolk and the South East are scheduled for mid September to mid October (no school children), start of a winter season of indoor bowling, guitar lessons to be identified and booked, part time introduction classes to Chiropractic from September and possibly a holiday to Spain for some winter sun before Christmas.

No one should fear retirement just look at it as a huge opportunity to become young again. I keep a diary to manage my time. I identify interests, make objectives, compile plans how and what I will do and when. Please do not get the wrong idea I am not too structured after all I do have the time to be flexible but by controlling my time I feel I can achieve more. I hope the enthusiasm lasts, the money is not depleted by the recession (although none of the above actually cost too much what with student discounts and good timing for cheap rates [ a Scot after all] ) and my health continues. Fortunately I have little time to worry about any of these and all I would say is DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY AND MAKE THE MOST OF THE OPPORTUNITY. Good health and happy retirement.


Pauline from Paphos, Cyprus

Almost 7 yrs ago I was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, I thought my life was over! we had already started making plans to move to Cyprus within 5 to 10 yrs so we just doubled our efforts and here we are!

I have always worked hard all my life, my only hobby was my beloved show dogs, our breeding program for them and my occasional invite to judge dog shows at various locations in the UK. Not the amount of shows going on here as in the UK and I found myself with more time on my hands that what I thought healthy! I was encouraged to join an art group, I thought I was mad! The only art I had ever attempted was at school many many moons ago and quite frankly I was so bad it was suggested I tackled another subject! It was November 2008 that I tentatively walked into my first class...........what a transformation to my life! I took to pencil drawing like a duck to water and went on in leaps and bounds!.........I was still "scared" of the paint box though, so I would draw at classes then paint at home, eventually I felt that some were not too bad and I took them back to class for appraisal. I now am working towards an exhibition, it seems flowers and watercolour are my forte, although I am now dabbling with other media too. Not withstanding my joy at finding this hidden tallent!..................I also joined a mosaic group a few weeks later, and again it seems I have a flair for that too, working since January 09 I now [7 mths late] am doing commissions for other people and selling my work..........what a sense of achievement I feel for someone who thought her life was over and on the scrap heap!........I am in remission at the moment but these days I don't even think of the big C as being a constant companion, with brush, and tiles in hand, I'm looking forward to a rich and fulfilling retirement here in the sun.

More examples

Click for more retirement examples in entries to this year's Challenge:

Retirement examples 2

Retirement examples 3

Retirement examples 4


Why not enter the LaterLife Challenge yourself?

We'd love to hear how you are spending your later life whatever you are doing

Back to LaterLife Challenge




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