By Nathan Lee, TLE Correspondent
New research has revealed retirees have an average of only £1,343 put away for emergencies.
The study on the finances and lifestyles of 1,000 retired people found one in four had less than £1,000 saved and more than half said they would be “stumped” if they had to pay for unexpected house repairs or specialist medical care.
Around one in five retired respondents in the poll by financial services giant MetLife said they had less than £500 set aside for unforeseen expenses, while the same number said their day to day finances are far from comfortable.
A disillusioned one in five retirees said life is much harder after finishing work than they imagined. The survey found the ‘retirement glow’ can last up to 13 months – the average time given by respondents before the novelty of being retired wore off. Finances prove the trickiest aspect to manage, while boredom is the second biggest barrier to retirement happiness, results showed.
Yesterday Dominic Grinstead, Managing Director, MetLife UK said: “It is very worrying that more than half of pensioners would be stumped if they had to find the money for a major bill.
“Unexpected demands in retirement are a major risk – around one in four say they have suffered financial shocks which have forced them to cut back. Retirement ought to be a time to relax after a lifetime of working hard but sadly the survey shows the retirement glow does not last long before the money worries return.”
Just under half of the retirees surveyed said worrying about money was a common occurrence. And a fifth said they aren’t financially comfortable day to day. Perhaps that’s why one in ten retired people in relationships fall out with their partner over money worries- with the rising cost of energy bills the most likely item to provoke an argument, followed by spending on food/grocery items.
While more than half of those polled were unsure as to whether they could cope should they be faced with a big unforeseen expense such as healthcare costs or home repairs. In fact, one in seven said they simply wouldn’t be able to cope with any unexpected increase in their expenditure.
The average respondent was found to be living on £297 a week, yet one in eight were getting by on less than £100 per week. And unforeseen expenditures really take their toll- as many as a quarter had experienced a ‘financial nightmare’ which threw their finances into disarray.
More than a quarter of the 1,000 retirees polled said their standard of living had decreased since retiring and just 12 per cent said life had got better since quitting work, while six in ten notice no change in quality of life either way.
Dominic Grinstead added: “Pensioners need certainty in retirement and flexibility with their finances so they can cope with unexpected bills and have some spare money to enjoy themselves too.
“That is why we have designed our new Retirement Portfolio to deliver a guaranteed income for life which has the potential to increase with positive investment performance while enabling people to dip into their savings if they need to.”