There’s all sorts of reasons why a person may retire, with the age at which they do so often varying. Steve Cooper, 60, is based near St Austell in Cornwall. But for Steve, retiring is the last thing he’s currently looking to do. Three years ago he took a sabbatical, following a planned redundancy. Steve, who worked in software in an operations capacity, had worked throughout his life from the age of 16, and when he and his colleagues were made redundant, he decided to take a career break.

The time gave him the opportunity to pursue his hobbies and interests – such as photography.

But, reflecting on his time, Steve explains that he’s keen to get back into work.

“I feel I’ve got a good decade worth of work inside me,” he tells Express.co.uk.

He adds: “You think, ‘Oh that’s great when I retire I can actually crack on with doing my hobbies’ because you just don’t get time when you’re working all the time.

“But the thing is, when the hobby is the only thing you wake up to do, you don’t get the satisfaction.

“So that was a mistake I made.”

Steve has so far been funding his career break with savings and redundancy pay, and while he does have private pensions, he says of them: “They’re not brilliant.”

Steve reveals how, going forward, retirement isn’t something he sees in the near future for him.

“I’m 60 now, if I get a position that I feel like I’m good at and that I would enjoy, I’ve got no intention of retirement,” he says.

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“I’ve almost done my retirement by having sort of three years off since I was made redundant.

“So now I’m ready and willing to get back into work again. There’s only so much time you can do your hobbies.”

But, finding the right job isn’t necessarily as easy as it may seem, Steve explains.

According to new analysis from Rest Less based on data from the Office of National Statistics Labour Force Survey (May-July 2019), those aged 50-64 are 33 per cent more likely to be unemployed for more than 24 months, compared to the under 50s.

For Steve, location has proved to be a challenge when it comes to finding relevant opportunities too.

“I live in Cornwall so I would say as a rural area, opportunities are probably less than if I were to live in the Home Counties for instance,” he says.

“The kind of work that’s available is generally speaking is hospitality or the care industry which isn’t something I’ve got any skills at.

“So it’s difficult. Where I have had roles that I could apply for where my skills are transferring you get a feeling and a perception that perhaps – because you’re nearly 60 or in my case 60 – it’s a harder sell than it would be if I was 35.”

Retirement and me is a weekly series which looks at how people are spending their time and money later in life. If you’d like to share how you spend and save, get in touch by emailing personal.finance@reachplc.com.

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