State Pension: Expert outlines criteria to qualify
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State pension payments often form the bedrock of retirement, and people will look forward to this when they are eligible. For some, it means they can finally depart the workforce for a comfortable retirement.
However, new research has issued a stark warning for those who are planning to be reliant on this sum alone.
While many plan for the state pension to be their main, or only, source of income, new research has shown this may present an issue.
Pensions and investment company Royal London challenged five customers and its consumer finance specialist Sarah Pennells to live on £185.15 for a week.
This is the equivalent of the full state pension, with the challenge encouraging people to think about their pension and how much they might need in retirement.
A survey undertaken by Royal London showed people believe they need £1,117 per month on average to live a comfortable retirement.
However, with the new state pension paying up to £802, there is a shortfall of £315 per month.
But how did the participants of the study get on with living solely on the new full state pension?
Stevie-Leigh Edwards, who took part, said: “I have realised that it’s just not doable to live on the state pension alone.
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“It’s hard enough to live on it and have a basic life, so it’s made me realise that come retirement my complete lifestyle would change if I didn’t have anything else to rely on.”
However, the main concern derived from the challenge is the difficulties individuals may face given the cost of living crisis.
Interest rates are creeping up, while inflation continues to soar, wreaking havoc on grocery and energy bills.
The situation is tough for those on a fixed income, Ms Pennells highlighted.
She said: “What struck me when I was living on the state pension was how tough it was, especially in the middle of a cost of living crisis, and that’s without the energy bill hike due in October.
“While it was possible to pay for everyday items, such as food, there was no money left over for unexpected bills.
“The state pension is the foundation of most peoples’ income in retirement, but it is highly unlikely to pay enough for the life you’d like in retirement.”
There are, of course, alternative pension options which may be worth exploring given the findings.
Auto-enrolment has opened up larger numbers of people to a workplace pension, and there is also the opportunity to put money aside oneself into a private arrangement.
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Some may choose investment, but this is not right for everyone and investors should be aware capital is at risk. It could mean they get less back than they originally put in.
Others will opt for cash saving, perhaps in the form of an ISA, but should note inflation is ravaging savings even in top paying accounts.
People should get the full new state pension if they have at least 35 years of National Insurance contributions, and the full basic state pension for 30 years of contributions.
Some may get less than the full new state pension if they were contracted out before April 6, 2016.
Express.co.uk has contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for comment.
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