4.5 million retirees are having to make cutbacks

The Momentum UK Team 09 January 2014

4,480,000 retired Britons have cut back their spending in the past year, to keep up with the rise in living costs, according to research released today.

The research, from MGM Advantage, draws attention to the many retired people who are finding that their income falls short of living costs, and the measures they are taking to make ends meet.

According to the findings, retirees are cutting back on all areas - not just luxuries. It was revealed that 2,940,000 (27%) are cutting back on their household energy use, raising concerns about whether older people will be able to keep warm enough this winter. In addition, two and a half million (23%) have cut back on food spending.

Of course, many retirees - like the rest of us - have been cutting down on luxuries too. Twenty-six percent are going on fewer holidays, while 25% say that they are eating out less to save money. Others have taken more creative measures to make ends meet; 3,630,000 (33%) have changed their shopping habits or are travelling less, and 13% have sold items on auction sites to raise some extra cash. Many retirees are beginning to take advantage of their free bus passes, with 15% using more public transport and many choosing to walk instead.

Andrew Tully, pensions technical director at MGM Advantage, said:

“We are in the midst of a cost of living crisis and this shows no sign of going away. Times are tough, but retirees are resilient people who have even turned their hand to internet auction sites to generate some cash. But these figures highlight the perilous state many find themselves in, cutting back on essentials like food and heating to make ends meet.

“Retirees find it particularly tough as they face the double whammy of a typically fixed pension income and currently low returns on their savings. They also spend a disproportionate amount of that income on the essentials to live compared to other groups. People need to consider inflation when thinking about their income needs. Over a 20-year period, you could find your buying power halve through inflation. This makes it vitally important to ensure any pension income considers the rising cost of living.”