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Planning Retirement Online

The Laterlife Challenge

Making the most of retirement

Take a look at more examples of what others are doing in their retirement. We hope it will inspire you to enter this year's Laterlife Challenge and share how you are making the most of retirement.

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

More past LaterLife Challenge Entries

Patricia from Nelson, Lancashire

When I retired 2.5 years ago, I joined the local croquet club at the suggestion of my sister and brother-in-law and play there at least once a week. I also started walking all the local parks and "green spots" on the local map in order to keep active. Now that I have covered all of those and find that I walk less often, I have taken on a share in a friend's allotment and joined a local fitness gym instead.

Last year I joined the local branch of the U3A with a couple of friends and have taken up Art and Country Dancing as regular activities, while occasionally going to the Architecture and Gardening meetings (usually on their trips out). I also go to as many of the outings of the Dalton History Club as I can manage with my friends.

Although I only have a tiny back yard I am a keen gardener and try to fill it with as many pots growing flowers and vegetables as I can. Because I enjoy going to the park at the bottom of my street as often as possible I joined the local Friends group where I became the Secretary and now we have just been awarded the prestigious Green Flag.

To keep my brain active I go to the local Cafe Scientifique club once a month where they have fascinating lectures on a variety of topics and at home I am struggling with keeping up my Modern Greek and also learning Spanish and Portuguese to use when I go abroad. I try to go abroad on holiday at least once a year (altho I haven't made it to anywhere particularly unusual) regarding the challenge of holidaying alone as sufficient challenge. This year I have been to North Portugal and in October I am going to Crete.

When I am not doing any of the above I love to give small dinner parties for my friends or just curl up at home with a good book or my cross stitch.

Some years ago my daughter introduced me to a blog and I keep in touch daily with all the friends I have made on that. Later this year when I have updated the computer I am hoping she is going to get me World of Warcraft so that I can join in playing that with her friends as well.

Best thing I ever did was to retire earlier than planned and start living my life again. And since I have a very small pensionable income and am in receipt of benefits, the above list of activities shows that you don't need a lot of money to be active, involved and enjoying yourself.

Jill from Walton on Thames

John and I retired in 2005. We moved to Whiteley Village in Surrey (a Charity Trust retirement village) where we took up amateur dramatics and have been in the last four Easter shows and are looking forward to next Easter when the show has a Golden Anniversary. John and I will be singing solos, we are also doing a duet (dressed up) I cannot tell you what they are because it may spoil the show.

John is continuing to learn to play the clarinet, guitar and keyboard (he has a wonderful singing voice). I am learning and have played the flute on stage and also am learning to play the guitar. We enjoy performing and can be seen in our local Karaoke pubs at times.

In 2006 we bought ourselves an old caravan for ?800.00 (never having been caravaners before)and an old car for ?2,000.00 and booked the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao in Spain and spent 11 weeks travelling through Spain to Cadiz and along the Costas through to France, where we stayed for a short time in the Pyranees. We met up with many interesting people including some entertainers and had some fun jam sessions. After which we travelled back across France to Calais and back to Dover and home.

During our stay in Spain we spent a couple of weeks in Salou when my parents joined us for a week. At 82 years old they stayed in a hotel and we took them out everyday and often back to the camp site and our caravan for BBQ's and music. Yes, we had with us, two guitars, a flute, a clarinet and a keyboard. Also a piano accordian which John attempts to play at times, to the amusement of ourselves and our friends. Sadly my Dad died very recently.

We dropped in to see a cousin in Almeria (Mojacar).
We had some mishaps, the clutch failed in the car. the steering went wrong, the roof light fell off the caravan, we got caught in torrential rainstorms and the awning fell down. Despite this we made the necessary repairs and giggled through the 11 weeks away.
We are still telling tales of our adventure and laughing.

In 2008 John and I were asked to be the Pearly King and Queen for the Whiteley Village Show, we had to hire some costumes and borrow my Dad's golf buggy and make ourselves noticed (we appeared in the local Surrey Herald).

After our trip we started to occasionally look after other villagers dogs when they were away and indeed we still do. We haven't owned a dog ourselves for some years as we both worked before retirement. It gave us enjoyment and much needed excuse to go for long walks in our beautiful village and through the woods. We never intended to have another dog of our own but along came Hattie, a very intelligent, cross bred Jack Russell, eight years old. We looked after her for many weekends and fell in love with her. Her owner had lost her partner and as she was working, Hattie was left alone for much of the time, Jan her owner decided that it would be kinder to Hattie to have her rehomed. John and I couldn't bear never to see Hattie again and so we adopted her.

I did the publicity for the village 'fun' dog show this year and entered Hattie for several classes.
Amazingly she walked off with Champion Dog and Top Dog prizes. (There were independent judges!!)
She has been a source of much comfort this year as we have lost four family members, the most difficult being our Grandson Gary who died in a motorcycle accident in April.

Together, John and I run a monthly Bingo session in the village (called Little Bingo) there is a Big Bingo for larger prizes. On the second Wednesday of each month we set up the machine, I sell the tickets and do the necessary paperwork and John calls the numbers. Midway through the session we have a raffle and tea and biscuits. We are accompanied by Hattie who lies quietly under John's chair until the biscuits arrive, when she visits the players for any spare crumbs.

All in all life is very busy and rewarding but we are looking forward to a happier year, next year.

Angie from Weymouth

In October 2008 we began an epic journey in India travelling around the globe backpacker style for 12 months. We packed up our house and rented it out to help fund the trip which was to include 4 continents and 15 countries. It was at times a bit nerve wracking but at the same time the most incredible journey of our lives.

We stayed in a variety of accommodation, mainly in hostels and sometimes with friends that we met along the way but we were moving constantly and keeping fit was an important part of our new lifestyle otherwise we'd never have coped. We cycled at every opportunity, climbed mountains, kayaked and sailed whenever possible and in many parts of the world we took advantage of warm oceans and swam almost every day.

Alan practices Tai Chi at home and joined in groups in parks all over the world while I photographed people and cultures and the ever changing landscape. We travelled on planes, trains, boats and buses and slept on sofa's, futons and overnight coaches which only enriched our experience.

We visited an orphanage in Cambodia and now that we're home we intend to raise money to improve the children's living conditions.

We have come to understand so much about different cultures and values all over the world. About poverty, loss, forgiveness and trauma for example in the peace gardens of Hiroshima and in the killing fields of Cambodia.

We were children in the 60's but met and married in the early 70's when the bravest of our friends talked of their adventures in travel. Since then our own children have travelled and married, so in 2008 after 30 years in the fire service we decided that it was our turn. We have met many wonderful people all over the world we carried a laptop and planned all but 5 nights of our accommodation as we went. We kept in touch with family on skype which helped to keep us going. I have taken hundreds of the most beautiful photographs of people and places that until now we had only read about. This really has been the journey of a lifetime.

Marian from Cheltenham

I retired from Teaching in a Public School 9 years ago at 60 years where my last position was Swim Coach some A Level PE and Manager of the 600 seater theatre.

My life since then has never been busier-Firstly I became a District Census Officer and spent many days in the Local job centre recruiting Team Leaders and Enumerators. For the first time Census forms were sent back and not collected so my teams had to collect from the GPO and sort at my house and my living rooms became full of boxed forms.

Then I became a Saga Holiday Host and accompanied many Saga Clients on Cruises around the world to places I'd always wanted to see. The Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg,The Capital cities of most European Countries and the Idyllic Caribbean. I also hosted Saga Christmas Breaks and Single Holidays in Spain and Uk.

I then had to have a full knee replacement and curtail for a time these activities. My youngest daughter had died tragically at 27yrs in 1999 and I needed to keep busy and found a couple of years later The Compassionate Friends an organisation run by bereaved parents for bereaved parents. I got involved and became a Trustee and member of The National Committee for 7 years. As Events Director i was responsible for organising The National Gathering and also attended the International Bereavement Conference in Vancouver. On a Local level I held meetings in my house and arranged fundraising coffee mornings and a Sponsored Swim for TCF Funds and am still involved with the organisation.

In voluntary work I have been a Magistrate for 18years and sat on the Licensing Courts and Youth Courts in addition to the Criminal Courts and as a Mentor to New Magistrates a post I will have to retire from next year at 70.

Since I retired from Teaching for fun I have been up in a Hot Air Balloon, ridden a Quad Bike in USA and walked on a Glacier in Alaska which I was very proud to do with my New Knee. I currently organise a Singles Dining Club for the Over 60s give or take a bit! and been Chairman of a Ladies Tangent Club, also a member of a Lolly Dollies Investment Club (when Shares were worth some thing. I have enjoyed following and supporting my young grandchildren's hobbies often being a driver for my 12year old grandaughter who as a competitive swimmer trains 8 times a week (am as well as pm) Being a Spectator for my 11year old Rugby mad playing Grandson and watching my other Grandaughter ride her Horse. Oh I forgot to say I am still teaching swimming to young children and adults on a weekly basis and run the Swim school now in its 29th year.

Chris from Newent

I retired to take up self-employment in 1999 in partnership with my wife. We ran a Health and Nutrition business until March 2008 when we closed it down to free up time for other things.

In 2003 I became involved in fighting against an inappropriate development on a local farm for a Wind Turbine proposed by a developer to the local farmer. I became part of a team of four people and we successfully fought off the proposal. During this period I started a blog site ( ) which continues today with updates and issues that affect the local community.

In 2007 it became apparent that the local magazine, The Chimes, was about to fail due to the retirement of the two Editors who wished to fully retire. I instigated the replacement of them by offering my services and those of two neighbours as a trio to take on the publication. Since then we have grown The Chimes to a circulation of 1000 to cover four parishes. Our income is from advertising and donations and we are non-profit making. We work on a rotation basis such that we each edit the magazine three monthly, but I ensure that the adverts are correctly inserted and displayed.

I have also become a local Councillor representing the parishioners of Aston Ingham, meeting monthly, and I produce the Aston Ingham blogsite which lists the Meeting Minutes ( ) I am also the Chairman of the Gorsley Garden Club which organises speakers in the winter months and garden visits in the summer. I and my wife joined the National Garden Scheme in 2008 and opened our garden, along with two others in August that year. Unfortunately the other two gardens withdrew this year so we opened to support the Aston Ingham Garden Weekend in July.

I think you could safely say that we have been a little busy since 'retiring'. But it is great fun and rewarding in helping the local community.

Maureen from Dudley

I joined a gym when I retired. I was a little nervous because I thought it might be full of young, energetic, toned, beautiful people, but there were plenty of my contemporaries of all shapes sizes and levels of fitness, or otherwise. I had a go at various classes and really loved yoga -though at times, as my muscles protest at being stretched, I have to remind myself that I do enjoy it! I have remastered the art of standing on my head (at one time the only one in the class who could, and we're not all retired), and am currently trying to achieve balancing when doing a handstand. Besides those showy-offy things though I have found many benefits. I am far more flexible, I've built up strength and it has given me a great sense of well being.

I had cancer not long before I retired and received help and support from our local Cancer Support group, so after retiring I started to do some voluntary work there to try and help others in the situation I had been in. I'm now a Trustee of the group and also write a nutrition article in the bimonthly newsletter. I had decided to become very proactive about my health after the sledgehammer treatment of surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy and drugs (hence joining the gym), and nutrition interested me greatly, as well as tying in nicely with my love of cooking.

I tried the complementery therapy, Reiki at Cancer Support and found it very beneficial. In fact I was so impressed with its efficacy that I learnt to be a Reiki practitioner myself. I do Reiki for friends and family and for myself.

I'm learning to play the piano and I'm learning how to be a gardener - the first with a teacher, the second through trial and error! I adore spending time with my grandchildren. I love having time to read and to do the crossword. I have become 'a lady who lunches' and it is so good to have a leisurely 2 or 3 hours with old friends. I love to travel and to go to the theatre. In fact I think retirement is BRILLIANT and can't think why I had never looked forward to it. Long may it last!


More examples

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Retirement examples 1

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