1 Retirement Realities: Tomorrow s worth saving for
2 2 Regardless of later life income, we see how additional savings improve pensioners quality of life at all levels, no matter how incremental the increases in income.
3 3 Contents Foreword page 4 Background to this study page 6 Key findings page 8 Evidence of a financial tipping point page 13 The importance of having more than the State Pension page 17 Income and quality of life page 20 Looking beyond income page 26 Appendix page 29
4 4 Foreword The findings in this report highlight the vital difference automatic enrolment will make for many people, who may otherwise have found themselves out of reach of a comfortable retirement. Regardless of later life income, we see how additional savings improve pensioners quality of life at all levels, no matter how incremental the increases in income. However our most striking finding is clear evidence of a tipping point at an annual household income of around 15,000. This seems to be the basic threshold for comfort and financial stability in retirement, based on what pensioners think and feel about their lives in retirement today regardless of how much they earned when they were working. Across the vast majority of measures we investigated, from perceived life satisfaction to the affordability of everyday bills, people living on a household income of less than 15,000 are more likely to be struggling. Emotional and financial well-being rises steeply among pensioners with between 15,000 and 20,000, and then continues to improve more gradually from there. This tipping point holds true regardless of household size. Although we found some evidence that living with another person may lead to a happier outlook on life, household size doesn t alter the 15,000 threshold on most measures of financial capability and emotional well-being. Following this year s Budget, there are now even more options for people to ensure they have a decent standard of living when they retire. We are looking carefully at the implications for NEST members and will be consulting widely on how to help them get the best possible outcomes under the new rules. But regardless of how and when people choose to take their retirement income, our findings confirm that a workplace pension will give savers a solid foundation to build on.
5 5 For the average person likely to be automatically enrolled in NEST at the start of their savings career, the minimum payments they make throughout their working life, topped up by employer contributions, could go a long way. Their workplace pension could give them an income of around 6,700 1, taking them almost to 15,000 when a flat rate State Pension of 7,500 is taken into account. With this helping hand from automatic enrolment, even greater flexibility when it comes to retirement, and the solid foundation of a triple-locked flat rate State Pension, the case for sticking with saving is now stronger than ever. Tim Jones, Chief executive officer, NEST 1 This is calculated on the basis of a 22 year old earning 20,600, saving at the minimum automatic enrolment level, including employer contributions, throughout his working life and retiring at 68 (State Pension Age). 20,600 is the median salary of the section of the population most likely to be automatically enrolled in NEST.
6 6 Background to this study Opinium Research conducted 2,028 online interviews with UK retirees aged 40 to 75, between 17 and 20 March The sample is comprised of year olds, 1, year olds and year olds. Respondents were asked a series of questions on their household income level, pension, and overall life satisfaction. Note on the demographic composition of the survey sample: Approximately half of the sample is living in a one-person household and half live with one other person. Household income is used throughout when referring to income in this report. Our analysis of the data suggests that the results are largely consistent regardless of household size. Where the results are different for one or two-people households, we have explicitly mentioned this. More information on the demographic profile of the respondents can be found in the Appendix.
8 8 Key findings Financial well-being and quality of life in retirement increase in line with household income, although it begins to level out at around 40,000. 7% Pensioners overall sense of satisfaction with life increases by an average of 7 percentage points per 5,000. The more pensioners receive in retirement income, the more likely they are to be enjoying some of the little extras in life, such as going out for a drink with friends, going shopping or treating themselves. Figure 1: Pensioners who feel satisfied with their life, by household income 89% 88% 75% 67% 68% 52% Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 a year 30,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 1 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
9 9 And having more than just the State Pension is important. 85% 50% of people who have additional income say it has made a difference to their quality of life and 56 per cent say this difference has been considerable. who have no additional income say understanding what it s like to be retired makes them wish they d saved more. However there seems to be an initial threshold for a greater sense of well-being at around 15,000-20,000. Figure 2: Pensioners who feel comfortable financially Almost twice as many people with an annual retirement income of 15,000-20,000 describe their financial situation as comfortable. 43% Pensioners living on household income of 15,000 to 20,000 who are comfortable 24% Pensioners living on household income of less than 15,000 who are comfortable Figure 2 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
10 10 2x Those with an annual retirement income of 15-20,000 are more than twice as likely as those with less to agree their income is enough to give them the retirement they were hoping for. Figure 3: My annual household income is enough to give me the retirement I was hoping for 100% 81% 35% 43% 56% 66% 14% 0% Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 3 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
11 11 Having at least 15-20,000 seems to makes a significant difference to people s day to day standard of living. 2x 33% 23% 50% Pensioners living on less than 15,000 are twice as likely as those with 15-20,000 to be struggling with day to day living costs. More than one in three pensioners living on 15,000 or less find it difficult or very difficult to afford their household energy bills, compared to 15 per cent living on 15-20,000. of those with 15,000 or less find it difficult to afford groceries, compared to 9 per cent of those living on 15-20,000. More than half of all pensioners with 15,000 or below would struggle to pay an unexpected bill of 200, compared to 34 per cent of those living on 15-20,000. Reaching an annual income of 15,000 seems to have a positive impact on people s emotional well-being and happiness. The amount of people feeling satisfied or happy with life falls 33% by up to a third at income levels of less than 15,000 and the numbers of people feeling anxious rise by a quarter. However, money isn t everything 58% of pensioners think the most important factor for their quality of life in retirement is staying healthy. The next most important factor is having more retirement income, cited by 38 per cent of pensioners. The evidence shows that living with someone rather than living alone also leads to a greater sense of well-being and happiness. Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
12 12 Pensioners with an annual household retirement income of 15,000-20,000 are almost twice as likely as those with less to describe their financial situation as comfortable.
13 13 Evidence of a financial tipping point Our research suggests the level of household income required for a satisfactory level of comfort and stability in retirement is around 15,000. This is apparent across nearly all indicators, with the number of pensioners reporting higher levels of satisfaction and well-being jumping significantly at the 15-20,000 threshold. It is true that levels of satisfaction continue to rise steeply in line with income and that a majority of people begin to feel more satisfied with life at around the 20-30,000 household income level. However 15-20,000 appears to be the lower threshold needed for significant numbers to begin feeling more positive about their situation in later life. Pensioners with an annual household retirement income of 15-20,000 a year are almost twice as likely as those with less to describe their financial situation as comfortable. While comfort levels continue to rise steadily in line with income this is the biggest step change between income bands, representing the first clear tipping point. Figure 4: My financial situation is comfortable 100% 80% 92% 66% 43% 50% 24% 0% Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 4 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
14 14 At the opposite end of the scale, nearly a quarter of those with 15,000 or less say they are actually struggling financially. This rises to a third among those earning under 10,000. For retirees living on the State Pension alone, 21 per cent are struggling financially, compared to the sample average of 13 per cent. Figure 5: What is the best way to describe your current financial situation? All respondents on household income of 15,000 or less 2% 22% 53% 17% 7% 0% 100% All respondents on household income between 15,000 and 20,000 4% 39% 48% 7% 2% 0% 100% Very comfortable Comfortable Coping Struggling Really struggling Figure 5 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
15 15 Looking at how pensioners view their retirement, those with an annual household income of 15-20,000 are more than twice as likely as pensioners living on less to agree they re getting enough to give them the retirement they were hoping for. Again, this positive correlation continues all the way through the income scale, but 15,000 is the first significant tipping point we see. Figure 6: To what extent do you agree that your annual household income is enough to give you the retirement you were hoping for? Percentage of respondents strongly agreeing/ agreeing 100% 81% 56% 66% 35% 43% 14% 0% Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 6 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
16 16 Regardless of income, the vast majority of pensioners with more than the State Pension say the additional money has made a difference to their quality of life.
17 17 The importance of having more than the State Pension Having additional income over and above the State Pension seems to be an important factor in determining quality of life. of pensioners who have a bit extra say it has made a 85% difference to their quality of life. 56 per cent agree it has made a considerable difference. Among those who do have more than the minimum, it s at the 15-20,000 level where a majority say the additional money has made a considerable difference to their quality of life. Figure 7: Having additional income over and above the State Pension has made a considerable difference to my quality of life 100% 78% 83% 88% 55% 59% 39% 21% 0% Up to 10,000 Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 7 Base: 1,287 UK retirees aged 75 or under who have other income provisions other than the basic State Pension
18 18 Figure 8: Retirees with additional income vs. those on just State Pension Strongly agree/agree that understanding what it s like to be retired makes me wish I d saved more 25% 39% 50% Very satisfied/satisfied with the amount I have saved for my retirement 25% 51% Retirees on just the basic state pension Retirees receiving additional income Figure 8 Base: 1287 retirees with additional income and 741 retirees with no income other than the basic State Pension
19 19 Only a quarter of people who receive just the State Pension are satisfied with the amount they have. Whereas among pensioners who receive a bit more than the State Pension, 51 per cent are satisfied they have saved enough. One in two people with no savings say understanding what it s like to be retired makes them wish they d saved more. Women are less likely to be satisfied with their retirement income than men. 41 per cent of women disagree that their annual income is enough to give them the retirement they were hoping for, compared to 31 per cent of men. While the income gap is still prevalent among the working population, this finding generally reflects a similarly significant disparity between men and women s income in retirement. 23 per cent of female retirees in our sample are living on 10,000 or less, which is nearly 10 percentage points above the sample average and more than twice the proportion of men. There may be a number of factors at play but certainly women have traditionally had fewer opportunities to save independently, and many are often reliant on a partner s income. Indeed our results show that 47 per cent of women who live alone in retirement are dissatisfied with their retirement income compared to 33 per cent of men in the same position.
20 20 Income and quality of life Retirees household income has a definite effect on their overall standard of living and ability to cope with every day expenses. 33 per cent of pensioners living on a household income of 15,000 or less say they find it difficult or very difficult to afford their energy bills. Nearly a quarter of those with 15,000 or less find it difficult to afford groceries. And while a significant minority of those receiving 15-20,000 also say they would struggle to pay an unexpected bill of 200, more than half of all pensioners receiving 15,000 or less are in this position. Figure 9: Retirees below and above the 15k threshold I find/would find paying for groceries difficult to afford 9% 23% I find/would find paying my household energy bill difficult to afford 15% 33% I find/would find paying an unexpected bill of 200 difficult to afford 34% 52% Retirees on income between 15,000 and 20,000 Retirees on income up to 15,000 or less Figure 9 Base: 1,287 retirees with additional income and 741 retirees with no income other than the basic State Pension
21 21 The likelihood that pensioners are enjoying some of the little extras in life, such as going out for a drink with friends, treating themselves or going shopping also increases in line with income. Only 16 per cent of pensioners with an annual retirement income below 15,000 often go out for a meal or a drink. This proportion almost doubles to 30 per cent for those who are living on a retirement income of between 15,000 and 20,000. Figure 10: I often do the following activities 60% 45% 30% 15% 0% Up to 10,000 10,001 to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40, ,000 Go out for a meal/drink Treat your family Treat yourself Go shopping for clothes/shoes There is evidence that reaching an annual income of 15,000 has a positive impact on people s emotional well-being and happiness as well. The findings over the following pages are based on questions asked in the Office for National Statistics Well-being survey (see box on the following page), and therefore are not concerned with financial matters specifically but attempt to understand people s personal sense of well-being in the round. However we continue to see fairly clear correlations between these indicators and household income. Figure 10 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under (Percentage of respondents by household income)
22 22 About National Well-being ONS In 2010 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) launched a programme of work on measuring national well-being. The term well-being is often taken to mean happiness. Happiness is one aspect of the well-being of individuals and can be measured by asking them about their feelings subjective well-being. As the ONS defines it, well-being includes both subjective and objective measures. It includes feelings of happiness and other aspects of subjective well-being, such as feeling that one s activities are worthwhile, or being satisfied with family relationships. The exact questions NEST has asked to its sample of retirees are four questions taken directly from the ONS survey: Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays? Scale is 0 10 where 0 is not at all satisfied and 10 is completely satisfied. Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile? Scale is 0 10 where 0 is not at all worthwhile and 10 is completely worthwhile. Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday? Scale is 0 10 where 0 is not at all happy and 10 is completely happy. Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday? Scale is 0 10 where 0 is not at all anxious and 10 is completely anxious. Higher levels of personal well-being in terms of life satisfaction, worth and happiness are defined as 7 or more out of 10. However, for anxiety 3 or less out of 10 is used because lower levels of anxiety indicate better personal well-being. While NEST has used the ONS question wording it is important to note that the sample and methodology are different between the two studies and results should be compared with caution and used for illustrative purposes only.
23 23 The results suggest that overall levels of satisfaction amongst pensioners are fairly high, with 65 per cent of retirees claiming they are satisfied with their life. Looking at this by household income, we can see from figure 11 that although life satisfaction increases fairly steadily in line with income it is levelling off at around 40,000. Furthermore, reaching the 15,000 threshold is still a significant factor across the income scale. Figure 11: I am satisfied with my life nowadays 52% 67% 68% 75% 89% 88% Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 a year 30,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 11 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under; Percentage of respondents satisfied with life
24 24 Anxiety, as with life satisfaction, could be driven by a number of factors unrelated to income. We can see, however, that overall anxiety levels do track income and the 15,000 threshold is again important. Pensioners sense of anxiety decreases by 26 per cent amongst those on incomes below 15,000 to 12 per cent amongst the higher income bands. Figure 12: Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday? Not anxious (codes 0 to 3) 53% 59% 64% 61% 72% 76% 79% Anxious (codes 6 to 10) 25% 26% 19% 16% 12% 12% 12% Up to 10,000 Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 12 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under Note: Codes 4 and 5, which represent neither, have not been displayed.
25 25 Across all four indicators, the evidence suggests a correlation between income and an improved sense of well-being. All additional income over and above the State Pension, even at very low levels, seems to have a positive impact. Figure 13: How household income affects our sense of well-being 100% 0% Up to 10,000 10,001 to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,001 to 30,001 to 40, ,000 30,000 40,000 Satisfied Happy Worthwhile Anxious Figure 13 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
26 26 Looking beyond income While we have demonstrated the impact additional income has on day to day living, perceived quality of life, and well-being in retirement, it is worth noting that money isn t everything. There are clearly many factors that may contribute to how pensioners think about their lives today, with two particular examples that are evident in the research. When asked what would most positively impact their quality of life, well over half of pensioners say staying healthy is most important to them, as figure 14 reveals. An increase in income comes high up the list in second place. Figure 14: Which of the following would most positively impact on your quality of life in retirement? Staying healthy 58% An increase in your retirement income Being active and getting out and about Improvements in your health Going on holiday more frequently Seeing friends and family more often Getting more involved in your local community Getting more support from friends or family 2% 2% 11% 15% 29% 27% 37% Figure 14 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
27 27 In addition, throughout this report we have looked at pensioners outlook based on household income. We have found that the results are consistent with a tipping point at 15-20,000, regardless of household size. The implication is that when pensioners are living with at least one other person they manage to achieve the same levels of financial and emotional well-being on a lower overall income than pensioners who live alone. Indeed, on a number of measures living with someone appears to have an even greater positive impact on pensioners outlook on life, even holding income consistent. The below graphs reveal that more pensioners living with at least one other person are happy and content with their lives. Figure 15: Overall satisfaction with life, by household income and the number of people in household 100% 80% 60% 40% Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40,000 40, person households More than 1 person households Figure 15 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under Note: Chart displays combined household income for household with more than 1 person; Overall satisfaction with life is defined as 7 or more out of 10 on a 10-point scale where 0 is not at all satisfied and 10 is completely satisfied
28 28 Figure 16: Overall feeling that the things they do in life are worthwhile, by income and the number of people in household 100% 80% 60% 40% Up to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 40,000 40, person households More than 1 person households Figure 16 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
29 29 Appendix Demographical profile of the participants Opinium Research conducted 2,028 online interviews with UK retirees aged 75 or under between the 17th and 20th of March The survey asked respondents a series of questions on their income level, pension, and overall life satisfaction, and was carried out using Opinium s online panel of 30,000 UK adults aged 18+. The age of the respondents to this survey ranges from a minimum of 40 years to a maximum of 75 years. The sample of 2,028 adults aged 40 to 75 years is comprised of year olds, 1, year olds and year olds. Figure 17 breaks down the total sample by the number of people currently living in the household. Figure 17: Sample by household size 2% Just me % 56% Figure 17 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under
30 30 The annual retirement income (total retirement provision including any earnings/ income by a partner) is relatively evenly spread across the income spectrum for earnings between 10,000 and 30,000. Figure 18: Sample by household income 3% 12% 3% 14% 21% 14% 11% 8% 5% 3% 6% 0% 100% Unsure/don't know Prefer not to say Up to 5,000 5,001 to 10,000 10,001 to 15,000 15,001 to 20,000 20,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 30,000 30,001 to 35,000 35,001 to 40,000 40,001+ Figure 18 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under Source: Opinium, 2014
31 31 Our sample of 2,028 retirees was comprised of 37 per cent of people on State Pension only and 63 per cent of retirees with other pension income such as a workplace pension, employment or savings and investment. Table 1: Do you receive income from sources other than the basic State Pension and related benefits? e.g. workplace pension, employment or savings and investment 100% Yes 63% No 37% The 63 per cent retirees who have additional income are comprised of six in ten who have additional income from savings and investments, nearly four in ten who complement their State Pension with a workplace or personal pension and a significantly large proportion still working, too a fifth of the sample or 19 per cent. Figure 19: Sources of additional income 13% 19% 25% 36% 59% Other income source e.g. inheritance Income from employment Workplace or personal pension Income from savings and investment Table 1 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under Source: Opinium, 2014 Figure 19 Base: 2,028 UK retirees aged 75 or under Source: Opinium, 2014
32 NEST Riverside House 2a Southwark Bridge Road London SE1 9HA Contact us To find out more visit our website nestpensions.org.uk NEST Corporation All rights reserved. This information is indicative only and may be subject to change. We don t give any undertaking or make any representation or warranty that this document is complete or error free. We don t accept responsibility for any loss caused as a result of reliance on the information contained in this document, which is intended to be for guidance only, nor do we accept responsibility for loss caused due to any error, inaccuracy or incompleteness. Reproduction of all or any part of this document or the information contained in it is not allowed. NC186 RRTWSF 07/2014
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