Pensioners return to work to make ends meet

2004

Almost three million pensioners are having to return to work because they cannot afford to live on their retirement income, according to a survey from Prudential, and over half said they needed to supplement their income.

A survey of 2300 pensioners for the Prudential Retirement Index (PRI) found that one in five retired people finds that their income is insufficient to meet their financial commitments and lead a comfortable life.

The average pensioner sees a drop of £4,164 in their income at retirement. The average income for retired UK households was £14,648.

In areas such as the South West of England, the figure for those forced to return to work was as high as three out of ten, while in Scotland the figure was just one in six.

A further 670,000 (some six per cent) said they had been forced to selling their homes or using equity release plans in order to release cash.

Two per cent even admitted they had actually committed or considered committing a crime to boost their income.

But more common ways to help make ends meet according to one in five of those surveyed were cutting back on holidays, eating out, entertainment and leisure. Almost as many also cut back on essential items such as clothes. Mervyn Kohler of Help the Aged said that pensioners while some pensioners were forced to return to work for financial reasons, many also did so voluntarily.

"We need to build on these mainsprings, and find ways to combat age discrimination in employment and enable older people to make a positive decision to work if they want to,” he said.

Prudential’s Angus MacIver said: "This research reveals that without serious and sustained financial planning while at work, a full-time and comfortable retirement is becoming an unobtainable dream.

"It simply doesn't add up any more to expect to save a minimal amount for 20 to 35 working years and expect to have the same standard of living for the next 20 to 30 years in retirement."

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