The words ‘time’ and ‘freedom’ were the most common responses to research conducted by Local Pensions Partnership Administration (LPPA) asking members to define what retirement meant to them in a single word, sentence or photo.
The Preston-based administrator received over 12,000 responses from public sector pension members aged from 18 to 98 as part of its ‘Life is for Living' campaign to get a better understanding of what retirement means to defined benefit scheme members.
The research - carried out in July and August 2021 - asked members, "what does retirement mean to you?"
The five most popular words found in the responses were ‘time' (mentioned 32% of the time), ‘freedom' (22%), and ‘family' (12%), followed by ‘opportunities' (6%), and ‘travel' (5%).
The LPPA said key findings showed that the concept of retirement evolves as people get older and their priorities change but noted it is mostly thought of as a life stage that, above all else, promotes ‘time' and ‘freedom'.
Interestingly, the LPPA said there was very little mention of ‘money' or ‘finance' across all the different age groups.
Other findings highlighted that retirement was about ‘family' and ‘opportunities' for older age groups, while for younger age groups it was more about ‘relaxing'.
Those pensioner members still in work (aged 57 to 70), said it was also about having the chance to ‘travel' and enjoy ‘hobbies'. Whereas those in the same age group, who had retired, said it was more about ‘grandchildren' and being ‘stress-free'.
LPPA put the key findings from the research into a report, Discovering the true meaning of retirement. This includes the top ten words for each age group, a breakdown of responses, examples of the quotes submitted, and food for thought sections.
LPPA operations director Rachel Blundell said: "As a pension administrator, it's crucial that we completely understand retirement and what it means to different people.
"The insightful data we have collated from this research will be instrumental in helping us improve the retirement process for members. We all have different needs and desires when preparing for the future - this research will help us focus on what's most important when helping members to plan their retirement."
LPPA managing director Jo Darbyshire added: "Our research has shown that the concept of retirement has moved on from the stereotypes of the past. It's not just about winding down, putting your feet up or going on a world cruise. For many people, it's a fresh start and an opportunity to try new things. It was particularly interesting to learn how perspectives change as people get older.
"At LPPA, we are always looking for new ways to improve the retirement process for pension scheme members. This research has provided us with plenty of inspiration."