The average age for retirement in Spain is 62.5 and the majority of retirees feel young enough to do other activities: 70% spend most of their time with their familes, whereas 26% take part in voluntary programs, helping other elderly people or people at risk of social exclusion.
These are the findings of a recent report commissioned by Obra Social “La Caixa”, which analysed the socio-economic situation of over a thousand 65-77 year olds. It found that overall Spanish retirees were “active”, “connected” and “eager to learn”, adapting to this stage of their lives “without any problems” in 65% of cases.
67% even went as far as to say that they needed more hours in the day to do all the things they wanted to do. 84% of those interviewed said they felt free to do whatever they fancied, and 91% said they were in good physical condition to be able to enjoy their retirement. 70% said they felt young enough to learn new things.
Pensioners are great culture consumers with 94% regularly reading, 91% listening to music, 74% going to art exhibitions and 57% to concerts. Sport is also one of their interests: eight out of 10 said they regularly took exercise, with walking being the most popular activity (for 85% of those interviewed), followed by swimming (23%), gym classes (20%), cycling (11%) and dancing (10%).
Having free time also seems to be conducive to learning amongst the country’s pensioners, with 34% going to classes – two out of 10 to learn a new language and 24% to keep up to date with new technology. With regard to digital media, three out of four own a computer, 70% own a smartphone and 45% own a tablet. The most popular program amongst retirees is WhatsApp, with seven out of 10 using this instant messaging service, Facebook is the favourite social network of 46% of those surveyed, and 43% say they watch videos on YouTube.
Although the survey results paint a mainly optimistic picture of pensioners’ lives, a few worries did come to the surface: 35% of those surveyed said they had found it harder than expected to adapt to retirement, and 31% regretted not having saved more money, citing the adjustment to a lower income as one of the most negative aspects. One in five admitted to missing their professional routine, and 22% felt they had lost social standing since retiring. In addition, six out of 10 have to take on some kind of family obligation.
The average household income for those interviewed was 1,758 euros a month, although 18% were living on less than 1,000 euros. In 42% of cases, there were two people contributing to the household income, with the state pension being the main source of income for almost all the retirees surveyed. Four out of 10 had additional income from either a second pension (12%), pension plans or other financial products, rents or inheritance.
The primary advice from pensioners to those still in work is start saving as soon as possibe and calculate your state pension properly before taking retirement.