Single pensioners need £277k more for moderate standard of living

Single pensioners require £277,500 more in their pension pot in order to secure a moderate standard of living in retirement, research from Standard Life has revealed.

New analysis by the group found that for a moderate living standard, single pensioners would need to have amassed a pension pot of £555,000.

While pensioner couples also require the same amount, they would, individually, need a pension pot that is half that of a single pensioner, assuming they are both receiving a full state pension.

Standard Life compared the pension pots of single and couple pensioners, rating them based on the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association’s (PLSA) Retirement Living Standards, which include three rankings: minimum, moderate and comfortable.

Standard Life managing director for retail direct, Dean Butler, said: "Whether single by choice or by circumstance, single people must front a whole host of expenses on their own – from mortgage or rent payments, utility bills and council tax, to broadband, holidays and TV subscriptions – and unfortunately these aren’t automatically half the amount that couples pay.

"It’s similar when it comes to pension savings too. Couples can pool their finances for retirement, and as our analysis shows, single pensioners need to amass a significantly bigger pension pot to achieve the same standard of living as pensioner couples.

"It’s therefore vital that single people start thinking about their retirement finances as early as possible."

For a minimum living standard, which includes enough for the basics and one week’s holiday in the UK a year, single pensioners would require an annual income of £14,400 a year. The majority of this is covered by the state pension, but they would need to have saved around £75,000 in order to maintain this.

However, for pensioner couples, the required amount for the minimum living standard is £22,400. This is covered by two full state pensions, meaning they would not need to have accumulated any additional savings.

Furthermore, for a comfortable living standard in retirement, which allows for a three-week foreign holiday, a full kitchen and bathroom replacement every 10-15 and £1,500 a year in clothing and footwear, single pensioners would need to accumulate a pension pot of £890,000.

For couples, they would need £985,000 between them, equating to a pot of £492,500 each.

This means that single pensioners would require an additional £397,500 to achieve the same living standard as a couple.

Butler added: "The unfavourable economic environment of the past few of years has significantly impacted the pension savings required to meet even the minimum of standards in retirement, as seen when we look to last year’s analysis.

"The updated PLSA retirement standards for 2024 mean single pensioners now need £25,000 more in pension savings than in previous years to achieve a minimum level retirement, £240,000 to achieve a moderate standard and £215,000 more to achieve a comfortable level of retirement."

This article first appeared on our sister title, Money Age.

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