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How much is enough in retirement

Looking ahead - how much will you need to retire?

The Retirement Living Standards, based on independent research by Loughborough University, have been developed to help us to picture what kind of lifestyle we could have in retirement. It shows what retirement could look like at three different levels – Minimum, Moderate and Comfortable – and what goods and services would cost for each level.

This can be found at

Lifestyles and opportunities

The research is eye-opening! A single person will need about £10,200 a year to achieve the minimum living standard, £20,200 a year for moderate, and £33,000 a year for comfortable lifestyle. For couples, it is £15,700, £29,100 and £47,500 respectively.

A ‘minimum’ lifestyle covers all your needs, with some left over for fun and social occasions. You could holiday in the UK, eat out about once a month and do some affordable leisure activities about twice a week.

A ‘moderate’ lifestyle provides more financial security and more flexibility. You could have one foreign holiday a year and eat out a few times a month. You’d have the opportunity to do more of the things you want to do.

Around half of employees are projected to have an income between minimum and moderate.

A ‘comfortable’ lifestyle allows you to be more spontaneous with your money. You could have a subscription to a streaming service, regular beauty treatments and two foreign holidays a year.

About one in six employees are projected to have an income between moderate and comfortable.

The report included a list of goods, services and activities to illustrate what money is actually being spent on in retirement. Real people were included to help pull this together.

They included:

  • House – bills (including gas, electricity, water, telephone and mobile, decorating, maintenance and furniture)
  • Food & Drink – eating out budget, groceries, and beer and wine n Leisure & Holidays – TV license and subscriptions, internet and holidays including passport and spending money
  • Clothing & Personal – clothing and footwear, cosmetics, toothbrush, toothpaste, shaving supplies, hair styling, beauty treatments, suitcases, umbrellas, dentist, opticians, podiatry, and minor first aid

Also included were charitable donations and gifts to others.

Achieving what you want

The basic State Pension is £8,767 per year. There are less and less people who will benefit from generous final salary (defined benefit) schemes, and more and more of the UK population are having to rely on saving into a personal pension (defined contribution) scheme where the pension you will receive is dependent on how much you save and the investment return. As the State Pension is less than the minimum lifestyle discussed earlier, then saving for the retirement you want is crucial, and the earlier you start, the more chances you have of achieving the lifestyle you want.

At Armstrong Watson Financial Planning & Wealth Management, we work with you to build your retirement plans and regularly review these so you know if you will remain on track. We can use cashflow forecasting to allow you to understand your plan more easily so you can make informed decisions.

For more information or retirement planning advice, please get in touch with Tracy Horky on 07710679849 or email at

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