Retirement and me: Mum torn between ‘selling house or withdrawing pension early’ to get by

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Daily Express gets the public's view on the cost of living crisis

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To combat the ever-increasing financial pressures caused by the cost of living crisis, many Britons are taking the steps to lower their monthly cost such as cancelling streaming services, switching broadband providers, or changing where they do their food shop. However, many in the UK have already taken the steps to do this but are still struggling to cover the cost of bills at the end of the month. Alison Luck, 56, from Medway in Kent has told Express.co.uk that the cost of living is tipping her budget over the edge. Alison, who works part-time as a secretary and supports her teenage daughter, already struggles to cover the cost of her bills each month.

Putting even more pressure on her finances, Alison needs to pay for urgent private dental work as she has struggled to find an NHS Dentist who is accepting new patients.

This bill, Alison says, will force her to have to pull money from her modest £30,000 pension pot early as her monthly finances cannot cover the cost.

Alison said: “I simply have no other choice, I need to have this dental work done as it’s affecting my daily life and my work, I don’t have savings to fall back on so this is my only option.”

Alison is also scared about the knock-on effects of taking from her pension on her benefits, as the money she would take out of her pension could be classed as income meaning the Working Tax Credits she claims may be lost or reduced.

The single mum is stressed that her problem wouldn’t be fixed if she worked full-time as she still wouldn’t earn enough money to survive and she would lose her NHS exemption and other support she desperately relies on.

Alison is incredibly concerned about the cost of energy and fuel, only using her car to go to work.

She said: “My energy bill used to be £62 a month and now I’m paying £122 and it’s going to go up again? I just cannot stretch any further”.

Alison explained how she had already cut her costs down to the bone, by taking out the cheapest broadband and phone package, buying the cheapest food items for herself to eat so her daughter can eat well, and purchasing cheaper second-hand clothes from charity shops if she needs anything.

She said: “We’re scrimping and saving before and I’m scared of what will happen if I have even less money coming in. I don’t know if there is anything I can cut.”

Alison isn’t the only person feeling the intense pressure of the cost of living crisis, as research by credit provider Vanquis found that nearly a quarter of those over 55 years are dipping into their savings to get by.

Nearly three quarters believe that their financial situation is going to get worse in the next twelve months.

Of these respondents, the majority cited the cost of living as the reason why they are feeling worried with household bills, cost of food and transport costs being the top three causes for concern.

Alison is considering selling her small two-bedroom terraced house to try and help her situation.

She added: “The way things are going, by the end of the year I may have to sell my house and rent somewhere, but even renting is expensive now. I just can’t think how else I’m supposed to do this.”

Alison doesn’t believe that she will have the option to retire and says that it’s a luxury to think that she could.

She said: “All I can think about is now, and how I’m going to survive the next year. I don’t have the luxury to look ahead and the best thing for me now is probably to sell my house so then I have a bit more money that I can fall back on.

“If anything goes wrong in my house, like the shower leaks or the boiler breaks, I cannot afford another unexpected bill like that. If I’m renting, it would be the landlord’s responsibility to sort it out. But I won’t have my house anymore.”

Alison says that compared to others, she is lucky: “There are so many people who are worse off than me right now” – but she is “unable to see a way out” and does not know where else she can go for help.

Alison also believes that more needs to be done to help others facing crisis right now.

Vanquis’ research found that six out of 10 UK adults believe that they need further financial support to help with the cost of living. However, more than half do not know where to find it.

The Government has announced a £37billion cost of living support package this year for vulnerable households with the Government recently urging people, particularly those who claim Pension Credit, to check if eligible for further support.

Express.co.uk has contacted the DWP asking for comment.

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