Unless @Beauherne1990 mentioned it and I missed it, there doesn't seem to be much about the other side of the balance sheet. Not everybody is in the same boat, obviously, but , by your mid fifties your outgoings in the form of a mortgage and dependent children will be diminishing or disappearing. Most will have assets in the form of property , vehicles, savings and these will be boosted by a tax free lump sum. As @diddydave says, union fees, tax, national insurance and , ironically, pension contributions , all take a big bite out of your headline gross salary. I have also found, without too much effort, several casual jobs (mostly invigilating professional and university exams), which supplement my pension to the tune of about £400 -£700 net per month. This means I have quite a busy life at times, but it's not stressful , unlike teaching, and I can choose when and if I work. All this extra income is spent on extras, like holidays or discretional spending. You get the pluses of a job..the social interaction , sense of purpose and pay..without the sense of compulsion and feeling put upon and trapped.