£17,500 a year is all people expect in retirement

24 June 2014

People's expectations of retirement are relatively modest with the top three desires being able to pay off debt, taking an annual two-week holiday abroad and being able to run a car.

Eschewing the idea that those thinking ahead to retirement expect to spend their time on luxury cruises and buying fast cars, it seems that what people really want is not to worry about making ends meet and not to experience a painful drop in living standards.

Meanwhile, the annual income required to lead a modest but comfortable retirement being able to cover the top three desires is just £17,500 on average, according to research by Barclays.

The amount needed to cover retirement desires varied slightly across the generations, with those aged 19 to 33 needing a bit more at £18.

The majority (93%) of those who took part in the survey, who all paid into a workplace defined contribution pension, see financial planning for later life as primarily their responsibility. However, two-thirds believe this responsibility should be shared with the government and 47% think their employer should play a role in planning for retirement.

Changes to pension rules announced in the last Budget will give people new financial freedom. From April 2015, retirees can release up to 100% of pension savings, and there were fears that people would spend irresponsibly in retirement. But the Barclays research seems to suggest otherwise.

'Lamborghini' retirees

This is backed up by new research from Friends Life, which reveals that only 7% plan to be 'Lamborghini' retirees, taking all their pension savings in a lump sum.

Under the new pension rules, the average amount people said they would release at retirement was 33%. One in four would consider taking 50% of their pension savings in cash at retirement.

Rather than funding a luxury lifestyle, 24% of those surveyed by Friends Life plan to reinvest the money, with the new Isa proving popular with 22% of consumers. Buy-to-let property was also a popular choice with 21% planning to be private landlords, while stocks and bonds appealed to 14% of future retirees.

The research also found that more than a quarter of future retirees are struggling to understand the new pension rules and don't know where to reinvest the money released from their pension savings.

Other reasons why consumers would draw down their pension savings is to pay off their mortgage (24%); have fun while still young enough to enjoy it (24%); go on an amazing trip (21%), and put money aside for a rainy day (20%).

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