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People typically think they need £1,117 per month to live comfortably in retirement but the full state pension pays just £802 – leaving a shortfall of £315. And new research reveals a drastically different retirement for those relying solely on the state.
Along with five Royal London customers, Sarah Pennells, the mutual’s consumer finance specialist, undertook a week-long ‘State Pension challenge’ to live on the current £185.15 a week state pension.
More than half of pensioners (54 percent) rely on the state pension as their only source of income.
Stevie-Leigh Edwards, from Epping Forest, who took part in the challenge, said: “‘I have realised that it’s just not doable to live on the State Pension alone.
“It’s hard enough to live on it and have a basic life, so it’s made me realise that come retirement my complete lifestyle would change if I didn’t have anything else to rely on.”
An accompanying survey of 4,000 UK adults found 31 percent below state pension age expect it to be their main source of income when they retire.
This rises to four in 10 (39 percent) of those aged 55-plus.
Yet 52 percent do not think they would be able to live comfortably in retirement if the pension was their sole income.
Dennis Reed, director of the pensioner campaign group Silver Voices, said:
“This report does show the meagre and miserable nature of the UK state pension. It is nowhere near enough to live on.
“Even the higher monthly amount would disappear into energy bills and the cost-of-living crisis.
“Only six percent of pensioners get the full £185.15 a week, the rest of us are on £142 a week.
“We want to see a basic state pension of £200 a week and radical action is needed from the government to protect the elderly through this very worrying time and into winter.”
Ms Pennells said: “What struck me when I was living on the state pension was how tough it was, especially in the middle of a cost of living crisis, and that’s without the energy bill hike due in October.
“While it was possible to pay for everyday items, such as food, there was no money left over for unexpected bills.
“The pension is the foundation of most peoples’ income in retirement, but it is highly unlikely to pay enough for the life you’d like in retirement.
“Those relying on it as their main or only source of income will undoubtedly find budgeting extremely difficult, with today’s rising costs adding to the pressure.”
Private pensions are expected to be the main source of retirement income for around 38 percent of workers. Those aged over 55 are most likely to have the state pension as a main source of income (51 percent), compared to just a quarter of those aged 18-34.
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