Making up a pension shortfall is leading to more women working post retirement age. A recent study by Workingwise.co.uk revealed that 53% of women aged 45 and over said they were concerned that their pension would not be enough for them to be financially independent in later life[i].
Other research this year by online pension provider, PensionBee[ii] highlighted that women between the ages of 50 and 64 miss out on more than £90K of pension savings, with women in this age group suffering an average gender pension gap of 32%.
One option for older women wanting to continue working beyond the state pension age to plug their pension gap is to become a home sitter – a flexible role that could boost retirement income – says Ben Irvine, Director of Business Operations at Homesitters Ltd.
Enjoyable job that works well for retirees
Ben Irvine says, “Homesitting is a role that suits older people in their 50s, 60s and 70s who have retired but who want to remain active, do something purposeful and earn a bit of extra money. It’s an enjoyable job that comes with a great degree of responsibility as homesitters stay in people’s homes to take care of the home and any pets when clients go away.
“Benefits including being able to explore new areas of the country without having to pay accommodation costs, spending time with pets and meeting different people. Homesitters can also make savings on their own utility bills, especially during the winter months, plus they get paid a modest remuneration, along with mileage and a food allowance.
“Many of our homesitters are women and they find the job immensely rewarding. It’s also something they can easily fit around other commitments they may have in retirement such as looking after grand children or spending time on hobbies or other activities.”
Homesitters meets their clients and pets beforehand
Homesitters Ltd are different to many other pet sitting agencies in that all their homesitters are employed by them, are fully vetted and insured, plus they provide 24/7 back up support for homesitters on assignment. Homesitters also meet clients and their pets beforehand to be briefed on the home and the pets’ routine to ensure the assignment goes smoothly.
Sue from Loughborough has notched up over 100 homesits
One homesitter who took on the role after retiring ten years ago is Sue Cabrelli from Loughborough who has done more than 100 homesits. Sue decided to become a homesitter after reading an interesting article. Her retirement was approaching and as she has always kept busy, she wanted a new role that would give her a sense of purpose and enjoyment.
Sue’s husband Mark still works but sometimes joins her for a few days with the client’s permission. Although Sue is very independent, she appreciates the support she receives from Homesitters Ltd. As she usually homesits alone, the company have a daily morning check in system to ensure everything is going well, along with regular weekly calls to keep in touch.
Home and pet sitting appealed because Sue adores animals. She didn’t want to own a pet in retirement because of the restrictions and ties, and wanted to be able to take breaks with her husband whenever they fancied it. Looking after animals is the biggest benefit, however she also loves exploring different parts of the country.
Sue explains, “I have visited many beautiful places that I wouldn’t have ever considered. There are wonderful rural villages throughout the UK and I love walking. When I’m on assignments I take the dogs out for long walks. If there aren’t any dogs, I just walk myself. I’m a member of the National Trust and English Heritage so there’s always somewhere special to visit. Clients often leave me information about interesting places and great walks so I’m never short of things to do. If I’m in London I try to see all the latest exhibitions.”
Sue’s most eventful assignment was in the Derbyshire Dales. It started to snow as she was driving up there and didn’t stop for two days. Although she managed to reach the house, she was snowed in for a week! Luckily, she had taken some supplies of food with her and the owner contacted her to say she could help herself to anything she needed, as the nearest shop was over ten miles away.
Sue says, “It was a lovely cosy Elizabethan house and it didn’t faze me at all being snowed in. One of my tasks was to feed the wild birds every day and it was lovely to watch amazing birds visit the patio to feed including pheasants and peahens.”
Sue has embraced a whole new flexible career since retiring and is looking forward to home and pet sitting for many more years to come. For retirees like Sue who are looking for a different type of role in retirement then Homesitters Ltd is currently recruiting.
For more information on Homesitters Ltd visit: www.homesitters.co.uk