Surge In ‘SWOFties’ Living The Single Life

Life begins at 50 according to an increasing number of local women

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According to new research, the number of SWOFties (Single Women Over Fifty) has risen by just over five per cent in the last 10 years.

And West London seems to have more than its fair share of SWOFties in particular Ealing with 20,966 followed by Hounslow with 14,227 and Hammersmith and Fulham 13,207.

A quarter (25 per cent) of single women over 50 say they’ve never been happier, more than one in 10 (17 per cent) say they have a great social life costing them in the region of £78 a month. Many (19 per cent) are also using social networking sites and actively dating (17 per cent).

However the survey was not all about how women were choosing to spend their leisure time. Carried out on behalf of the Department of Work and Pensions, the research was undertaken to ascertain if SWOFties are prepared for later life as changes to the State Pension will come into force in April.

Pensions expert, Jasmine Birtles commented, “In the past, millions of women who opted to stay at home and care for family and children will have missed out on pension cash in retirement, but from April, changes will mean more women will be able to build up a full basic State Pension. However, it's important all women act now to find out how the changes will impact on them and how they can make the most of their State Pension so they can make the most of later life. ”

Christine Northam, Relate, the UK largest provider of relationship counselling, counsellor said, “We’re seeing more and more women entering their fifties and sixties single, and many of these women are embracing this opportunity to learn new skills, meet new people and really enjoy this phase of their lives. The stereotype of the sad old spinster is really a myth, with many of these women more glamorous and in control of their lives than they’ve ever been, making the most of these golden years.”

Top 10 Lifestyle Trends for SWOFties (Single Women Over Fifty)

Social networking: One in five (19 per cent) single 50- and 60- something women have joined a social networking site since retiring. What’s more, these older singletons are embracing the internet as a way of finding love, with one in ten (11 per cent) retired older singletons actively using dating sites.

Giving something back: Retired SWOFties are active volunteers. One in four (26 per cent) is giving up their time to help others.

Skilling up: Learning new things is a major priority for this group. A whopping five in ten SWOFties (47 per cent) say they’ve begun learning new skills since retiring. Among those learning a new skill, computer skills are the most popular courses taken (32 per cent of learners) along with learning foreign languages (25 per cent), cooking (7 per cent) and salsa dancing (7 per cent).

Working longer: We’re living longer and as a result many SWOFties are choosing to continue working past State Pension age (currently 60 for women and 65 for men. Women’s State Pension age starts to increase from 60 to 65 from April 2010.).Working for three years beyond State Pension age could mean the average British woman is more than £140,000 better off throughout her retirement because over State Pension age you don’t have to pay National Insurance and putting off claiming your State Pension means you get more pension when you do take it .

Getting fit: Staying active is important and unattached baby boomers are doing their bit to keep themselves fit. More than one in five single women (23 per cent) has joined a gym since retiring and a similar number has gone on a diet.

Jet setting: With more time and independence than most, SWOFties are exploring new sights and cultures. One in ten (12 per cent) takes extended travel trips and one in five (18 per cent) more city breaks since they’ve retired.

January 21, 2010

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