Dame Joan Collins won't bow out, but many don't have a choice

still working: At the age of 83, Dame Joan Collins says she has no plans to retire, and she is not alone. (Picture: PA).still working: At the age of 83, Dame Joan Collins says she has no plans to retire, and she is not alone. (Picture: PA).
still working: At the age of 83, Dame Joan Collins says she has no plans to retire, and she is not alone. (Picture: PA).
As Dame Joan Collins says she doesn't '˜see the point' of retiring, Chris Bond looks at whether retirement is actually good for people?

For many people retirement is that golden horizon they can see shimmering in the distance, that longed-for day when they can quit working and start doing more of the things they really want to do free from the daily grind.

It’s the reward for decades of hard work and an opportunity to embark on new adventures.

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That’s the dream many carry with them, but there are others, like Dame Joan Collins, who don’t want to give up working.

The 83-year-old actress and author said if the time does come when she is “retired” from film or theatre projects, she will write or design.

Speaking yesterday to Good Morning Britain’s Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid, she said: “I don’t see the point, I would get really bored, you know.

“If they do retire me from films or theatre, or my one-woman show, then I will write or design. I will do something. I’m not a person who can sit around doing nothing.”

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Certainly if you love what you’re doing then why would you want to quit? I interviewed the legendary singer Tony Bennett in 2014, when the then 88-year-old offered this sage observation: “I paint every day and I’ve still got my voice. I’m in good health and I’m still learning. I heard somebody being asked once if they were going to retire and they said ‘retire to what?’ That’s how I feel.”

So is retirement all it’s cracked up to be? Or is it a luxury that few can enjoy without seeing a dip in their standard of living?

There was a time when if you were still around five years after retiring you’d done pretty well. But today, a growing number of people are using their retirement to fulfil lifelong dreams and ambitions, whether it’s going on a round-the-world trip, writing that long-promised novel, learning a new language, or even taking up skydiving.

There are no shortage of studies, either, indicating that quitting work is good for your health, chiefly due to the benefits of more exercise, less stress, and greater sleep enjoyed by people who have retired.

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However, while for some people retirement is a passport to an exciting new chapter in their life, for others it brings with it the spectre of ill-health and the onset of growing physical and mental limitations.

Health and happiness are closely entwined and if you lose one the other is greatly impinged.

Another key factor is the size of your pension pot. The days of final salary pensions are all but gone for most people and, for many, the idea of taking early retirement is little more than a pipe dream.

There has been a dramatic increase in people over the age of 55 drawing on the equity of their property in order to get by in recent years, while a report published in December by the independent financial advisers Chase de Vere, warned that many Britons want to enjoy a long retirement but aren’t saving enough cash to support themselves in old age.

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Those of us wanting to reap the health benefits of retirement face waiting longer than ever before – with the state pension age rising to 66 in three years time, and to 67 by 2028.

Only last week a new study for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggested that workers under the age of 30 may not get a pension until they reach 70 – leaving millions of people facing the prospect of working longer.

This is one of the downsides of a longer life expectancy and means when it comes to retirement some people are far better off than others.

In the end it boils down to choice and whether you choose to work because you enjoy it, or because you can’t afford not to.

And the reality is there’s a gulf of difference between the two.