British pensioners are increasingly choosing a retirement home in an upmarket cathedral city or busy market town over the more traditional place by the seaside.
A report by credit checking company Experian finds that wealthier retirees are more likely to opt for St Albans, Salisbury, Kendal, Bury St Edmunds, Yeovil and Stratford-upon-Avon instead of more more stereotypical seaside resorts traditionally favored by the UK’s pensioners.
As people nowadays are living for longer, the study was able to identify four distinct groups: Smarties (senior market town retirees) who move to smaller market towns on retirement; Diamond Days - a monied elite who mainly congregate on the South East of England; Senior Security - risk-averse pensioners who are reasonably well-off; and Vintage Value - the term given to the poorest pensioners in the country.
The high-flying, cash-rich Diamond Days head for places like St Albans, Epsom, Guildford and High Wycombe upon retiring
The Smarties, meanwhile, tend to downsize and free up cash to settle in an attractive town or small city, such as Dorchester, Salisbury, Bury St Edmunds, Yeovil, Kendal, Stratford-upon-Avon and Bangor in Wales..
For the Senior Security grouping, the seaside resorts of Blackpool, Torquay and Southend-on-Sea are still popular, although it’s quite possible that pensioners in this category will remain in the family home rather than selling up.
Finally, pensioners in the Vintage Value group are most likely to reside in Sunderland, Motherwell, Merthyr Tydfil and Bootle, the research found.
Experian’s Richard Jenkings said of the wealthier pensioner groups: "In the past, people would go on holiday to the seaside and then a lucky few would then retire to those same resorts.
"Today we still see this happening, but a rising trend is for better-off retirees to move not to the traditional seaside resorts, but instead to pleasant, often historic, cathedral cities and quality market towns.
"Furthermore, our research shows that the elderly, affluent suburbanite is a now well established fixture in parts of the UK, particularly in the South East of England. These folks typically have significant amounts of disposable income and are looking to enjoy life to the full in their golden years.
Experian research also found that 68 per cent of over-55s see themselves as financially comfortable - with 78 per cent of these respondents being mortgage-free, and with 27 per cent having more than £100,000 in savings
However, 30% of the 2,000 over-55s surveyed said they did not regard themselves as financially comfortable - and of these, 22 per cent expect to be paying their current mortgage into their 70s or later.