Switch on the TV news and you will see stories of pension deficits, increasing healthcare costs and people working into their 70s - you could be forgiven for thinking that retirement in the 21st Century is a luxury that only a few can afford. Yet this is only half the story, and in many ways, this is a golden age for silver travelers.
A recent report from Bank of America Merrill Lynch tells us that modern day health benefits and flexible investment options mean that many of today's retirees have never had it so good, enjoying a more mobile, active and adventurous retirement than previous generations. This is certainly backed up by the fact that they spend more on leisure travel than any other demographic according to statistics published by AARP Research.
Show me the money
So, are these dark times or a golden age for today’s retirees? Or are we seeing a growing gulf between rich and poor?
The truth is that today’s retirees have more flexibility and options than ever when it comes to funding and managing their retirement, but to get the most out of them, they need to be proactive and take good advice. Traditional pension funds and investments are simply not realizing the yields that they used to 20 years ago, but there are alternatives.
One of the most popular and secure forms of investment to bring in extra money for retirement is property. For anyone looking to invest some cash and get good returns, the buy to let market has proved enormously popular with good yields. And even if you need to create cash rather than invest it, property can still provide the answer. The popular phenomenon of reverse mortgages allows you to release equity from your home, without having to make monthly repayments.
The key to financing a successful retirement is to evaluate all the options and be prepared to use non-traditional financial tools to make your money work as hard as possible.
Where to go
Having raised the finances for a happy retirement of global travel, what are the top destinations for silver travelers? The BofAML survey identified a “top ten bucket list” of the most popular destinations for vacationing retirees. It showed a broad range of locations both at home and overseas, across three continents. Here is the full list, in order of popularity:
3. New York
The thought of traveling in retirement is almost a cliché - what is it that creates this wanderlust among older people? Finally having some spare time and money to get out there and see the places they have always wanted to explore is reason enough for most, but some have deeper motivations, whether it is to revisit scenes from their earlier years, or to learn more about subjects such as English or European geography and history.
One downside to the rise in more mature travelers is that it has presented a new target for opportunistic thieves in tourist destinations, so it is important for travelers at home and abroad to be vigilant and keep themselves and their property safe.
For example, in the vast majority of cases, property is safe and secure in a tourist hotel, but why risk joining the minority? Room safes are there for a reason and should always be used for passports and other valuable items. Always use them to store jewelry and expensive watches when out exploring busy tourist areas, to avoid presenting a tempting target for criminals.