You need pension pots of cash for a good life


At the other end of the spending scale, covering bare essentials will require a combined income of £18,000, according to Which? consumer magazine. The middle option – which is a comfortable retirement with added bonuses of short-haul trips and the occasional bottle of good wine – will cost £26,000 a year, it concluded. For those who are single, the figures are £13,000 to cover essentials, £19,000 to be comfortable and £31,000 for luxuries. 

The consumer champion is calling on the Government to press ahead with reforms so savers can easily work out if their pension savings are on track for later life.

Jenny Ross, Which? money editor, said: “For many people, the events of the past year will have caused them to rethink retirement plans and brought the amount of money needed into sharper focus.


“Our research shows most people will need to be putting away significant sums if they want to ensure they can enjoy a comfortable retirement. “But many do not have access to the clear and accessible information they need to help them plan.” 

Ms Ross called on the Department for Work and Pensions to give people clear details on costs and charges in one simple, personalised figure. 

She added: “The Government must move swiftly to introduce the pensions dashboard and simplify annual benefits statements to enable people to understand how much they’ve saved. 


“They need to know what this could be worth in retirement and, crucially, ministers must extend proposals to include how much savers have paid in charges.” 

Which? quizzed 7,000 retired readers. It found a typical couple needed a pot of around £155,000 alongside their state pension to provide the annual income for a comfortable retirement of £26,000. 

This would be for a drawdown pension, where a regular income is taken directly from the pot. 


The alternative is an annuity, where a lump sum is paid to a provider in return for a regular, guaranteed income. 

For a comfortable retirement, the couple would need just over £265,000 for a joint life annuity. Single people need retirement savings of around £192,290 alongside a state pension to get to an annual income of £19,000 via drawdown or £305,710 for an annuity.

The pandemic meant many in two-person households had spent 14 percent less on things such as recreation and leisure and 10 percent less on transport in the past year compared to 2019. 


Spending on cars, charitable donations and groceries had risen by six percent. For single people, spending on long-haul holidays and leisure memberships was down by 14 percent and nine percent respectively.




How much money do you need for a basic, comfortable or luxurious lifestyle in retirement?

• Essentials cost £18,000 for a couple or £13,000 for a single person. It buys food and drink (but no meals out), housing payments, transport, utility bills, insurance, household goods, clothes, shoes and health products.

• Comfortable requires £26,000 for a couple or £19,000 for a single person. This includes the essentials, as well as hobbies, regular shorthaul holidays, recreation and leisure, fine wines, tobacco and charity giving.


• Luxury will cost £41,000 for a couple or £31,000 for a single person. This includes essential and comfortable spending categories, alongside extended or long-haul holidays, health club memberships, expensive meals out, and a new car every five years.

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