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Get a new sense of purpose in retirement

Julia Faulks / 03 March 2015

It can be a challenge to make the post-work reality match the dream. We look at making positive adjustments to your life to ease you into retirement.

Retired man doing woodwork
Learning a new skill or passing on an old one are great ways of getting a new purpose in retirement

If you’ve spent your career craving a very different kind of role then now is the perfect time to seek new opportunities by using the skills you already have or learning new ones. There are plenty of ways you can do this, for example:


Not only will you be keeping active, but studies suggest that volunteering increases self confidence, combats depression and decreases anxiety. Visit to find out what volunteering opportunities are available in your area. 


You are likely to feel a real sense of pride and satisfaction by helping others who want to benefit from your skills and experience. Find out more by visiting CSV, the volunteering and social action charity which provides opportunities for people to mentor or befriend vulnerable people in society.

Find out how to become a mentor.

Learning a new skill

Contact your local council or search for local Facebook groups to find out what opportunities are available in your area. You can also become a member of U3A (University of the Third Age) where retired people come together to learn, socialise and share life experiences.

Find out how intergenerational learning benefits everyone.

Giving back to society

“A lot of people are defined by their jobs and when this stops they have to re-visit who they are and what they represent. It’s a good idea to start thinking about that before you retire and to find some activities that make a life-changing difference to you,” says Steve Allen, Chief Executive of Friends of the Elderly, which recently launched a website called Be a Friend Today for people who pledge simple acts of kindness to older people.

“We've heard that this is in fact a two-way street and those very people who are being provided this support have a lot to give back when it comes to local geography, arts and crafts.

“People who are prepared to join social interest groups or volunteer with a local organisation will be better able to adapt to retirement. Being more active in the local community could be as simple as having a chat at the bus stop or being more neighbourly,” Steve adds.

Find out how to set up a community group.

Having no regrets

You may find that you are forced to retire early to look after a partner, relative or grandchildren and this can see you being drawn back into the house, which can get frustrating. This is where volunteering can play an important part in giving you a way to help you get back into the local community – it's hugely flexible and will fit in with your schedule.

“It's about asking yourself what makes your life worthwhile? Where do you get a sense of recognition from and who pats you on the back and says you've done a good job?” says Anthony Hughes, U3A Trustee for Wales at The University of the Third Age.

“Wherever we are and whatever stage in our life, we have potential inside us. A lot of that potential is stifled in work because you are doing the things that work expects you to do. You can release pent up potential, whether it's learning a new instrument or getting involved in a new social activity,” Anthony adds.

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The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated. The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.