personal finance

Retirement and me: State pensioner, 73, explains 'retirement was never in my psyche'


Retirement may be a time that many people may spend time thinking about, however it’s not something which occupies much thought for others. This was the case for Angela Laws, 73, who currently works as a Social Media and Community Manager.

Not only that, but Angela is also a full-time pet and housesitter, and a “digital nomad”.

It was around 10 years ago when Angela, whose background is in sales, marketing and PR, began her role with TrustedHousesitters.

“I continue working because everyone needs a purpose, no matter what the age but in retirement it’s needed more than ever for both mental and physical well being,” she says.

“Many prepare financially but not emotionally and find their life ‘ends’ rather than begins. And then there is the financial aspect, living on a fixed income is challenging and everything is becoming more expensive.

“No matter what the income it can make the difference between living or just surviving.”

READ MORE: Martin Lewis on how some over state pension age could get Council Tax discount

So, what made Angela make the decision to retrain?

“Through losing my own dog, I came to pet and housesitting,” she explains.

After her late dog Holly sadly passed away, Angela and her husband made the decision not to take on caring for another pet full-time, but Angela knew she still wanted animals in her life.

She knew about petsitting already, having used them for Holly in the past while living overseas with her husband.

Angela joined TrustedHousesitters 10 years ago, and a year into her role, Angela retrained – taking courses on managing social media.

“The skills that I have as a marketer and the skills that I have in PR and everything else that I do – those skills are really valuable and those skills are all relevant. I just needed to learn a new technology to use it. So that’s what I did,” she explains.

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Now, Angela works in Brighton, with a team of around 65 people.

“The company I work for, it’s cross-generational. My colleagues are young enough to be my sons and daughters, and grandchildren. But, we don’t see the age because of the experience I bring to the marketplace and to the business that I’ve gained through living for 73 years.”

While her husband has retired twice, retiring hasn’t been something on Angela’s mind.

“I don’t see a necessity to retire if that’s not a good life, and you’re able to.

“I also have to say I’m incredibly lucky,” she adds, explaining that she doesn’t think her CV would have been considered for the digital role by recruiters due to her age being 60 plus. “And so, I have to admit that I am very lucky. I was in the right place at the right time, I took advantage of the situation and I made it work for me. I made my luck and I took it – and I have been incredibly beneficial to our company and there are many people out [there] like that.”

“So, retirement was never in my psyche,” she adds. “I don’t think I ever would have retired. If I hadn’t had a job like I’ve got now, I would have done volunteering. I would have become involved in something.

“I believe we all need a purpose,” she says. “Whether that purpose is retraining and becoming a social media manager and everything else, or something as simple as you’ve found a dish that you’re going to cook it and share with other people. Or you’re going to go out there are you’re going to find something to do in the community.

“We all need that purpose, because if you don’t have it, life stops. Many retirees just don’t think about the emotional side of not getting up and going to work and mixing with people and having that purpose and having that drive.”

During his working year’s Angela’s husband paid into a pension scheme. While Angela didn’t have a company pension, she does have a state pension – something which she currently claims.

With her job, Angela also receives her salary, and says: “The thing that it’s allowed me to do is to now make provisions. The one thing that none of us know is how long we’re going to live for.

“The other thing we don’t know is how our health is going to be, so we do have to make those provisions and so what I’m doing now and the benefits I get through earning a salary now, is allowing me to put those things in place because I never had the opportunity when I wasn’t working because I didn’t have that company pension.”

Is there a stand-out financial decisions which Angela is happy she made?

“To invest in property,” she says. “I think, especially in this country, it is probably in my view the best investment to make because in this country it’s supply and demand.

“They’re not making any more land. Everybody needs somewhere to live and the population is getting bigger.

“The other financial decision that I made, and we were fortunate enough to be in a position to do it, was we helped each of our children buy their first home.”

Are you approaching retirement? Have you retired? Retirement and me is looking to hear from you. Get in touch via personal.finance@reachplc.com in order to share your story.



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