Why you need a pension

The new pensions rules have bought retirement planning back under the spotlight for older savers, but if you've got years to go in work, the  chances are you're far more focused on whether you can justify dinner out at the weekend, your holiday plans, trading up your car or doing work on your house.

According to research from Blackrock, UK savers are primarily focused on saving for a rainy day (32%) or holidays (29%) and spend more time planning trips away and new purchases than they do on their retirement.


The problem is, if you focus too much of your cash on your current lifestyle – whether that be dressing better, driving a faster car, improving your home or splashing out on holidays and weekends away – this is exactly what you stand to lose when you retire.

And, if you value all these luxuries now, you aren't suddenly going to stop enjoying them when you retire and have the time to indulge in your hobbies and start living your life to the full.

Indeed, the research from Blackrock shows we have high expectations of our retirement. According to the fund manager, 39% of people want to take frequent holidays once they give up work, 27% want to spend time with the grandkids and 27% want to take up a new hobby.

So while we may have grand plans for our golden years – we're not doing much to ensure we achieve them. According to Blackrock only four in 10 adults are confident they will achieve the level of income they want in retirement and over half (53%) admit to not saving anything specifically for retirement.

Cut the cost of enjoying retirement


Adding to the challenge of retirement saving is increasing life expectancy: great news from a lifestyle point of view but financially it's a double-edged sword - if you are going to have a longer retirement, it's going to cost you more. As Peter Quinton, head of annuities at Retirement Assured points out: "Our income needs to last much longer as we are living roughly two years longer for every decade that passes."

According to the Office for National Statistics, a 65-year-old woman today can expect to live for more than 20 years, until they are on average 86.1 years old. For men that age, the figure is slightly lower at 83.5 years old. For men, 10.1 of these years are likely to be in good health, for women the figure is 11.6 years.

What's your life expectancy?


The state does provide a safety net by means of the state pension and benefits including the pension credit but this won't be enough to provide for a comfortable - and enjoyable - retirement.

"If you're thinking of relying on the state pension to fund your retirement, then think again," warns pensions specialist Dr Ros Altmann. "The UK state pension is one of the lowest in the developed world and most people will not get that much."

Currently, a full basic state pension provides around £5,000 a year, says Altmann but in 2016 the scheme is set to change. "The plan is that the new state pension will become a flat rate single payment with a full 35-year National Insurance record entitling you to around £155 a week to live on, or just over £20 a day."

What support does the government offer pensioners?

According to the Department of Work and Pensions, an elderly couple living on less than £215 a week after housing costs, or £125 for singles, are considered to be living below the poverty line.

So if you want to maintain your existing lifestyle in retirement – be it travelling the world, eating out or enjoying trips out with friends and family you need to save for it, plain and simple. And that means working your retirement saving into your monthly expenditure.

Saving so much money might seem like a big challenge, but with employers and the government rewarding savers that make plans for their retirement, over the years small monthly sacrifices can make a huge difference to your lifestyle and your comfort when you do finally give up work.


Find out everything you need to know about the new pension rules and how to plan ahead for the retirement you deserve with our new magazine, How to Retire in Style. The magazine is available to buy now from all leading newsagents, or can be ordered online at moneywise.co.uk/retire

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