New research has revealed that over half of adults (52%) are planning to carry on working at least part time during their retirement. The study from Fidelity International reveals an emerging ‘No Desire to Retire’ generation with 45% expecting to work into their 70s and almost one in ten (9%) into their 80s or beyond.
The main motivations for retirees keen to continue working in some capacity according to pensions and investment firm Aegon are to stay active and keep their brain alert, as well as enjoying their work.
Earlier this year a retirement magazine in the USA said that being a pet sitter was one of the best jobs for retirees, highlighting that people who became pet sitters get a laid-back job pace, flexibility to pick and choose jobs, and the added bonus of animal companionship without the long-term commitment.
Alan Irvine, Managing Director of Homesitters Ltd agrees and says they are finding many more people in their 50s, 60s and 70s are becoming home and pet sitters, a role that involves looking after people’s homes and pets when they go away.
Mr Irvine says,
“Becoming a home and pet sitter suits people that are no longer working full time but still want to keep busy and active. It’s a flexible role and can easily work around other commitments such as looking after grandchildren or travelling.
“For most the main attraction of the job is travelling around the UK and staying in people’s homes, which is a bit like a free holiday. Looking after the pets is a big plus too. Often older people don’t want the commitment of owning pets, so looking after someone else’s can offer that interaction with dogs, cats and other pets which many really enjoy.
“The other bonus is that they are able to supplement their pension as they earn a small remuneration, plus those that do quite a few assignments, especially during the winter months make savings on their own utility bills,” adds Mr Irvine.
One homesitter who took early retirement is 57 year old Sharon Payne from Milton Keynes. Before retiring Sharon’s financial adviser said it would be wise to continue earning some money, and friends she spoke to were concerned she would get fed up and bored without a job.
Unwilling to take another 9 to 5 office job, Sharon looked for alternatives and came across Homesitters. It sounded like the ideal role for her; she would enjoy the travel and spending time with pets whilst earning a modest remuneration.
“Home and pet sitting may sound like a low key job but you’re looking after the most important things in people’s lives, apart from their children. Looking after animals with different needs and people’s homes is a responsible job.”
Memorable sits include looking after two dogs and 35 tortoises, and staying in a gorgeous Tudor mansion in Cambridgeshire with landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. Having always considered herself to be a ‘cat person’ Sharon has been surprised to discover she is something of a dog whisperer.
“The dogs are all lovely and follow me everywhere. Last year I looked after a miniature schnauzer puppy, she was very cute and I had so much fun with her. When I went back to look after her a second time she remembered me.”
Sharon appreciates the income she receives and has noticed that the job is saving her money too. She explains, “It’s not so much about what I earn but what I don’t spend. I’ve noticed that since I started home sitting my gas, electric and water bills are significantly lower. I also get a food allowance so I eat for free while I’m on assignment.”
One of the benefits of working through Homesitters is that all its homesitters are employed directly by the company, unlike most online agencies. Homesitters are also provided with a 24 hour back up support service whilst on assignment and comprehensive insurance.