What retirement means to you

With the aftermath of the global financial downturn, retirement and pension plans are now uncertain for workers of all ages.

Bill Scott Martin Letts Tom Bell Peter Steward Jan Wilmot David Hitchman Global Pensioners

In the UK changes to state and corporate pension provisions mean many people are having to re-think their retirement plans and the means by which they will finance themselves.

Many of you have contacted the BBC with your views on retirement and pension provision. Here is a selection of your comments.

Bill Scott, Milngavie, Scotland

Image caption "Working with young people fulfils me and keeps me with a positive attitude"

I took voluntary redundancy and early retirement from Strathclyde Region Education Department where I was principal community education officer.

In my professional career I encouraged people to go into retirement with a positive attitude and to think of this phase of life as the Third Age.

In my own case, I took the opportunity to fulfil three ambitions. I wanted to write creatively, so I joined a local writers' group, where I am now the treasurer.

I was also a semi-professional folk singer and songwriter and after retirement I raised a fair amount of money for charitable organisations. I continue to do this. I have 10 grandchildren and currently teach one of them the guitar.

I have played lawn bowls all my life and have won several championships, the highlight of which came in 2000, when I became a Scottish champion.

I have coached young people for many years in bowls and continue to do so, a task that gives me a great deal of satisfaction. Two of my grandchildren have taken up bowls, to my delight.

I have never regretted retiring. I find that working with young people fulfils me and keeps me with a positive attitude.

It is important for people who are nearing retirement to plan how they can fulfil themselves, at least a few years before it is upon them.

Martin Letts, Southampton

Image caption Martin Letts, here as Toad in Wind in the Willows, is secretary of an Amateur Dramatic Society

Retirement is great. I never really enjoyed work so I planned ahead and put money by for a reasonably secure retirement.

This meant investment in the stock market, property and paying off my mortgage as soon as possible.

I also indulge in thrift. I don't pay out for silly things like mobile phones or go to the pub.

I get my social activities at much reduced prices - drama club, church, intellectual societies. I am the secretary of The Swanmore Amateur Dramatic Society and a member of Winchester Probus Club (social group for retired professionals).

Today it seems to me people want it all now and do not plan for their future.

There are two ways to spend money - as an investment or wastefully - it's your choice.

Tom Bell, Retford

Image caption "My wife and I had planned to continue working on a part-time basis"

Being fortunate enough to receive an occupational pension at age 55, my wife and I had planned to continue working on a part-time basis, until we had sufficient funds to retire fully, and subsidise ourselves up to the state pension age.

Our plans have had to be completely rethought now due to proposed and possible further changes to the state pension age.

This means we have no firm idea exactly for how long we will need to subsidise ourselves, nor subsequently the degree of self-funding required.

Another aspect of this is the impact on youth employment. The sooner we are able to retire, the sooner younger people can be employed to replace us.

Peter Steward, Gosport, Hampshire

Image caption Retirement activities include birdwatching, walking and cycling

Life does not stop on retirement - it is the next stage of your own personal development that gives opportunities to meet new people, maintain friendships and help people where needed.

Retirement enables me to go birdwatching, walking and cycling. I go to the gym, play table tennis and indoor bowls, as well as go on holiday.

The other thing that I am able to do is to continue my lifelong interest in politics.

My retirement plan was based on company pensions but three years out of work seriously affected my benefits, and also stopped my wife from taking early retirement.

Jan Wilmot, Bedfordshire

I have tried to hedge my bets for retirement by having both a pension and investments that should see me comfortably off.

However I do not expect a quiet retirement in the way that my parents have as I would expect to carry on some sort of work, be it paid or voluntary.

My hope is that we will be able to move away from the rat race of the south east and improve our quality of life. However much will depend on how much support our ageing parents need.

I am keen to avoid the situation that my grandparents had, where having saved all their lives they ended up looking after an elderly parent and dying before being able to enjoy their savings.

We are starting in our late 40s to look at how to semi-retire as soon as feasible. However, this would require continuing to get an income and increasing our leisure time, which may be a challenge, since part-time professional jobs are hard to find.

As for friends and family they fall in to two camps: those like us who have planned and saved but worry about caring for elderly parents, and those who have done nothing for retirement and will end up having no option but to work until they drop, or be supported by the state's increasingly meagre handouts.

David Hitchman, Mildenhall

Image caption "I will not be retiring - there is no money"

Retirement for me is something my parents and grandparents had.

Since I was one of the millions encouraged to gamble on a private pension I will not be retiring - there is no money.

The pension funds, and I've a couple, make money only for the fund managers. For the rest of us they have proved to be a rip off.

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