Retired save UK millions in voluntary work every day

The Momentum UK Team 12 December 2012

Unpaid work done by the UK’s retired population exceeds 104 million hours of free care every week, according to a recent report.

The statistics from the Aviva Real Retirement Report suggests that over 10 million retirees each provide over 10 hours per week in the form of voluntary work. It is estimated that this ‘volunteer army’ would cost £643.8 million every week if being paid minimum wage. Instead this workforce is offering itself to charities, schools and even care homes absolutely free.

Caring for a family child is the most common form of unpaid care work provided by the over 65s. Of those questioned by the survey 50% were involved in child minding. The typical retiree is estimated to provide around 30 hours per month- or 363 hours per year-at minimum wage the equivialent of £2,247 in childcare costs.

However, for the retired it's not all about carrying on working. Although 30% of over 55s do foresee themselves continuing to work part-time, a substantial part of their retirement is set aside for rest and relaxation. Of those questioned 33% said that they were looking forward to socialising with friends the most. Whereas 42% said that they were going to spend more time in the garden. The highest recreational activity however was the 44% who said that they intend to travel during their retirement.

According to the report 18% use their tax free lump sum to fund their travel plans. With a noticeable rise in the newly retired traveling, the phrase ‘grey gap years’ has emerged proving that the jet set lifestyle is not just for the young.

Clive Bolton, from Aviva said:

"The figures spell out what many families know from experience - that support from a retired relative, when it comes to childcare, can make a world of difference.  And the number of hours retirees commit to charity work and community projects tells only half the story about how society benefits from their committed efforts. In many cases, this support for people in need is truly invaluable.

"Still, the fact that three in ten over-55s intend to find part-time work after retiring suggests, for all the benefits of volunteering, a financial cushion is still important.  This is especially true if you hope to work through your list of ‘must see' travel destinations once you're freed from full-time work.  The more you can plan ahead to fund your retirement, the more you can afford the luxury of choice about how to spend your time in later years."