Silver Surfers: Over-60s are more adventurous than ever before

Thursday, 5th April 2018, 8:00 am
Updated Thursday, 5th April 2018, 8:26 am

80 is the new 50 for many retired Brits, with one in ten saying they feel 25 years younger than their actual age.

That’s according to a new study looking at what the UK’s pensioners get up to once they have quit the nine to five.

It seems that the old stereotype of people of a certain age settling into a retirement full of knitting, bridge, and bingo are on the way out.

New data from MoneySuperMarket reveals that one third (34 per cent) of over 60s spend more money on adventurous activities, such as bungee jumping and sky diving, than the generation before them.

The price comparison website quizzed Brits aged 60 and over to explore what ‘over 60’ really looks like in modern Britain.

Perhaps surprisingly, if money and health weren’t an object, ‘the silent generation’ (over 80 years old) would be 10 per cent more likely to take up a risky hobby than those aged 70-74.

Silver surfers

Additionally, a daring one in 10 (eight per cent) 65-69-year-old ‘baby boomers’ would consider surfing - shining a new light on the term ‘silver surfer’.

Hiking (21 per cent), cycling (19 per cent) and backpacking around the world (16 per cent) top the list of the most adventurous activities in which the over 60s would be keen to partake - with one in 10 (nine per cent) are even up for doing a skydive, and a healthy 12 per cent daring enough to go scuba diving.

The research also shows that the older generation certainly aren’t feeling their age, with one in 10 over-80s (14 per cent) feeling a huge 25 years younger than they actually are, and a fifth (21 per cent) of 60 - 64-year-olds feeling at least 10 years younger.

Whilst the older generation might be young at heart and willing to seek out new thrills, for many the only thing standing in their way is finances - 30 per cent of 60 - 64-year-olds and a fifth (19 per cent) of 70 - 74-year-olds would be up for a challenge if they had the funds.

Cash for thrills

And even a lack of funds doesn’t always stop the retired getting the most out of later life. The research highlights that 37 per cent of the UK’s over-60s daredevils would use a savings account to fund more risk-taking activities, whilst four per cent admit they’d even take money out of their children’s inheritance to fulfil an adrenaline rush.

Additionally, the research reveals where the most intrepid over 60s live. Northern Ireland has been dubbed the most daring region - with 44 per cent of over 60s willing to try extreme sports such as bungee jumping, wakeboarding and rock climbing.

Overall, the results show that Northerners seem to be made of sturdier stuff, with second, fourth and fifth place taken by regions in the North of England and Scotland coming third.

At the other end of the scale, the East Midlands emerged as the most cautious region, with just a quarter of over 60s willing to dabble in extreme sports.

Top 10 regions with most adventurous over 60s:

Northern Ireland (44%)North East (41%)Scotland (41%)Yorkshire and the Humber (40%)North West (39%)South West (38%)East Anglia (38%)Wales (37%)South East (34%)London (32%)

Top 10 adventurous activities over 60s are willing to try (health permitting):

Hiking (21%)Cycling (19%)Backpacking around the world (16%)Scuba diving (12%)Sky diving (9%)Rafting (8%)Skiing (7%)Mountain climbing (6%)Rock climbing (6%)Wild swimming (5%)

Kevin Pratt, consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, comments: “With people generally living longer, it’s great to see just how many over 60s are embracing adventurous activities that they might not have had the opportunity to try earlier in life.

“All too often the ‘older generation’ are lumped together in one age bracket but, as our results show, over 80s differ quite dramatically to those in their 60s and 70s, when it comes to the thrills they seek. However, the one thing they do have in common is that they’re feeling younger than ever and are open to new and exciting ways to spend their money.”