The price of retirement - 600k

Candy Bellinger

While many of us will be struggling with the bills, mortgage and rising fuel and food costs we are unlikely to be thinking too hard about saving for retirement.

Woman with pension book
Woman with pension book

  1. Pensions

  2. Retirement

  3. Retirement income

  4. State pension

  5. Savings

  6. Financial security

  7. Pension fund

  8. Debt

  9. Cost of living

  10. Bills

But we could be making a big mistake because according to figures released this week, the average retired couple will need something in the region of £600,000 to cover 20 years of old age.

Compiled by MGM Advantage the report suggests that the annual household expenditure for 65 to 74-year-olds is £23,107 and £14,926 for those over 75.

That means that the average cost of food, petrol, household bills and clothing will cost a massive £564,227 over the course of the 20 years.

And since those retiring now are being hit not only by the drop in income but also by rapidly rising cost of living, the annual spend is now a third higher than it was just five years ago.

Sadly, the basic state pension covers less than half of that.

Laith Khalaf, pensions expert at Hargreaves Lansdown, told The Telegraph: "Millions of people are sleepwalking into an impoverished old age. You can't expect to spend twenty or thirty years in retirement without stashing away a substantial amount of money while you are still working."

Hargreaves Lansdown say that a pot of £564,227 would secure an annual income of £35,806 but the state pension of £97.65 a week makes up just £10,155 each year.

As it stands only public sector workers and those enjoying a generous retirement scheme can afford to relax into retirement and, now that many are merely concerned with paying the mortgage and credit card bills, the situation is likely to get worse for future generations.

Previous research by equity release specialists Key Retirement Solutions even suggests that many are entering retirement with an average of £36,000 debt.

Ros Altmann, from the London School of Economics, said: "We have a real pension crisis and politicians have not woken up to it. Most people's pensions are not going to deliver the figures they would have expected when they first started saving - unless of course, you happen to work in the public sector."

The question is, what exactly can the Government do to ease the pressure on pensioners?