The ultimate retirement bucket list

The ultimate retirement bucket list

Seeing the Northern Lights, buying a dog and travelling around the country by train are just some of the things on the average retiree’s bucket list. A survey of 2,000 people has revealed a top 50 list of all the ambitions people have for the years after they leave work.

As well as hiking around the world to nine different locations, some adults wish to spend their later years tending to an allotment while others want to track down long-lost relatives.

Some die-hard romantics dream of re-visiting their original honeymoon destination or renewing their wedding vows.

But others are fed up with their existing relationships, and plan to have an affair with a younger man or woman when they get the chance.

The majority of people see retirement as an opportunity to fulfil all the dreams they’ve held for years and years, but haven’t had time to carry out.

Stacey Stothard, spokeswoman for Skipton Building Society, which carried out the research, said:

“The general consensus for people who haven’t yet retired is that when they give up work, they can really start to live their life.

“Many Brits view their later years as a chance to do all the things they’ve wanted to do for ages, it is considered to be one big long holiday.

“But we anticipate there being a lot of people who just assume they will be able to do everything they want in retirement, without giving any real thought to how they will achieve this.

“We know that many Brits have no provisions in place for retirement, which means that as well as being unable to ‘live the dream’ they may struggle with the basics such as paying bills, buying food and keeping a roof over their heads.”

The study shows many people are looking forward to having enough time to write a book after they’ve given up work, while others want to have lessons in cooking, painting or learning a foreign language.

Grandparents are looking forward to spending more time with their beloved grandchildren, and some have hopes of taking them to Disneyland, or to see Father Christmas at Lapland.

Route 66 in America, The Great Wall of China, the Maldives and Las Vegas are amongst the destinations people would like to visit after the age of 65.

More locally, folk would like to take a trip to Stonehenge, take an afternoon tea at the Ritz, or go hiking in the Lake District.

The local community is set to benefit from kind hearted Brits – while some like the idea of charity work, others want to volunteer at the local school while animal lovers want to do dog walking for the nearest animal shelter.

Becoming a Brown Owl for the Brownies, or an Akela for the Scouts is another unfulfilled dream for many.

As is not getting up before midday every day, and being able to do what you want when you want.

And some people are just looking forward to having the time to carry out tasks they can’t do while still at work – such as sorting the loft out, re-decorating the house, putting decades of photographs into an album and starting a gardening project.

Other more unusual things to appear on the retirement bucket list include getting a face lift and riding an elephant.

Visiting relatives abroad, getting numerous spa treatments, sight-seeing and buying a second home also feature on the list.

The survey indicates that on the whole, 43% of people imagine their retirement years will be some of the most exciting of their life, while two thirds want to use the time to fulfil all their dreams and ambitions.

Just under half of those already foresee being financially comfortable once they’ve given up work, and 43% think they’ll have enough money to do everything they want to do.

Stacey added:

“While people in their 40s and 50s may have hopes and ambitions for their retirement, it remains imperative that they keep a continuous check on how their financial plans are progressing.

“It’s surprising how many people think that they will be able to do what they want, when they want, without even giving a thought as to how they will pay for it. For many people who are relying on their state pension to fund their dreams and ambitions, the plain fact is – it won’t.

“Our survey shows that people have very strong ideas about what they want to do in retirement – and that should be encouraged. Some have more modest ambitions while others are really reaching for the stars. However, everyone should bear in mind that clarity on plans for savings and investments goes hand in hand with their plans for retirement.

“For instance, people should be aware of when they will be able to pay off their mortgage and clear other debts. This will give them the chance to free up extra cash to fund their retirement plans.

“They should also check and double check on their pension arrangements to ensure their projected income will be sufficient to fund their retirement hopes.

“Like the people who said they want to be an Akela for the Scouts, the message is: ‘Be prepared’!”


1. Sight-seeing
2. Just do what you want, when you want
3. Cruises
4. See the Northern Lights
5. Spend more time with / look after the grandchildren
6. Live abroad / get a second home abroad
7. Buy a dog
8. Train trips
9. Grow own vegetables / start an allotment
10. Travel Europe in a camper van
11. Re-visit original honeymoon destinations
12. Cake making
13. Charity work
14. Do Route 66 in America
15. Go on safari
16. Learn a foreign language
17. Visit the Great Wall of China
18. Tea at the Ritz
19. Put decades of photos in photo albums
20. Gardening project
21. Gamble in Las Vegas
22. Re-decorate / renovation project
23. Getting spa treatments
24. Take the grandchildren to Disneyland
25. Crafts
26. Build your own house
27. Help your kids with some DIY
28. Renew wedding vows
29. Bus tours
30. Swimming with dolphins
31. Visit relatives abroad
32. Lake District hiking
33. Have an affair with a younger man / woman
34. Trip to Stonehenge
35. Write a book
36. National Trust membership
37. Meet Father Christmas / take the children to meet Father Christmas
38. Hot air balloon ride
39. Work on family tree / track down long-lost relatives
40. Scuba diving in the Maldives
41. Volunteer in the local animal shelter / dog walking
42. Get a face lift / cosmetic surgery
43. Ride an elephant
44. Cooking lessons
45. Hiking around the world
46. Paint / make art / attend art classes
47. Sort the loft out
48. Not get up before midday every day
49. Volunteer for community or local school
50. Be a Brown Owl in Brownies / Akela in Scouts