What 1,000 retirees said about their life after work may shock you.

The assumption is that life after full time work will be one of bliss. No longer needing to set the alarm. More time to travel, relax, socialise, and ‘get things done’.

But a survey of 1,000 UK retirees tells a very different story. Indeed, it’s a wakeup call for those heading for life after fulltime work or already drifting through it.

Above all, it highlights the dangers that come from not replacing the two key things that are lost when work ends – purpose and companionship. Otherwise, as the research shows, retirees can be left longing for the benefits that came from the career they left behind.

The eye-opening research, conducted for Home Instead Senior Care, speaks of those –

Retired to disappointment

Feelings of being deeply disappointed by their retirement were expressed by 1 in 5.

Prodding deeper, a quarter put this down to now having no real routine in their day-to-day life. And a third saying retirement had left them feeling they had lost their purpose in life.

Missing the workplace

Asked what they missed most about the world of work, almost half said this was spending time with their colleagues. With a third saying they missed the workplace banter.

For almost 4 out of 10, missed was the income their job had provided as they were no longer able to afford the things they wanted to do.

And, for almost a third, there was a yearning to have an active mind. In fact, well over half agreed with the statement that ‘work is good for mental health’.

The desire to still have work in one form or another was also highlighted. More than a third expressed the belief that it’s important to have something like part-time work or a hobby after retiring.

Missing the fun of work

Over half of those surveyed said they had found working fun and they missed it. With an almost equal number saying a problems with not working is they miss being around people.

Wished they had kept working longer

Perhaps the most revealing finding of all is that a quarter of the retirees surveyed believed they had quit work too soon. The average respondent said they would have happily continued some kind of work for another seven years.

That finding encouraged those behind the survey to launch a campaign encouraging people to UnRetire and so reap the benefits working life brings.

Lack of support for retirees

Also revealing was the perceived lack of support from employers to help people make the transition. Two in 4 said they had received too little. And a third saying they had received no support at all.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way. Wise retirees know that to flourish in their new era means doing more than making the most of their new freedom. It also involves actively seeking to replace the purpose and companionship they have left behind.

If that matters to you, check out the following AfterWorkNet web pages on Opportunities and Serving.

Do you an experience of how you replaced the purpose and companionship of your workplace in your retirement? Please share it here or with the AfterWorkNet Facebook group. Thank you.

Peter Meadows

Peter is AfterWorkNet’s Programme Director. He’s still working part time in his 70s, helping churches and resourcing inter-church initiatives. This is alongside enjoying his eight grandchildren, escaping to Spain and spending his kids’ inheritance.



  1. It can be quite a lonely if you do not keep yourself active with volunteering or church activities also would be could to have friends who Wright to you old fashioned mail

  2. I have been retired a little over 8 years having retired later rather than earlier and have found life post-retirement busy and fulfilling. In fact, because I no longer commute and can do things into the very late evening and even early morning, I am more productive. I enjoy the flexibility that retirement brings such as not having to go to bed early in order to get up early. Overall, I consider I have a fairly good balance.
    I made a policy decision that on retiring I would not get locked down in doing certain things on certain days as this stifles flexibility in making arrangements and this has worked well.
    I keep up with a number of different former colleagues at regular social meetings and events but being a member of a church really keeps me busy in various ways. Every morning I have to spend time arranging my diary to plan various activities or meetings and ensure I do not double-book myself. In this mix is my keep fit regime (ten-pin bowling and powerwalking) and keeping up with life on the computer indulging my many interests including following football around the country as well as giving time to my wife and the domestic scene.
    To have a day when there is nothing in my diary is, for me, a day off, and I welcome it. Whatever one does in a voluntary capacity is so much appreciated and nothing is done with the heavy pressure that leads to unhealthy stress. For me, retirement is a wonderfully fulfilling phase of life. So far, I have not been able to read all those books I intended to or do my keyboard practice but, who knows, that may be achieved at some point.

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The word retirement is not even in the Bible. What is taught in scripture is transition. There is nothing that says you work most of your life and then get to be selfish for the next 20 years"

Rick Warren, PurposeDrivenLife