19 February 2024

How much income do we need to live on?

Members may remember the article in the Pensioner last Spring and have seen the recent news about different standards of living for retired people.

Updated figures show an increase in the amounts needed across all the three levels but particularly the moderate level. These increases reflect rising costs of food and everyday items, more importantly they show people are changing spending habits with more focus on family and friends enjoying activities outside the home so different patterns of spending.

The research describes the cost of three retirement lifestyles: Minimum, Moderate, and Comfortable. The research is based on multiple in-depth discussion groups with members of the public from all parts of the UK.

The updated Retirement Living Standards reveal increased costs across all levels, increased food costs are particularly important for the Minimum level which increased to £14,400 for a single person and to £22,400 for a couple. It includes around £95 for a couple’s weekly groceries, a week’s holiday in the UK, eating out about once a month and some affordable leisure activities about twice a week. It does not include budget to run a car.

The Moderate level increased to £31,300 for a single person and to £43,100 for a couple. Aside from higher food, household energy and motoring costs adding disproportionally to the cost, this level also saw changes in the expectations of what should be included at this level. For example, the in-depth discussion groups considered that at the Moderate level people should be able to help their family members financially with a budget of £1,000 (e.g. to assist with the cost of grandchildren activities), as well as an additional £100 per month to take family members out for a meal. This was considered particularly important in the context of the cost-of-living crisis.

At the Comfortable level, the cost increased to £43,100 for one person and to £59,000 for a two person household, retirees can expect to have more luxuries like regular beauty treatments, theatre trips and two weeks holiday in Europe a year. A couple could spend around £130 per week on groceries and £80 a week per couple on meals out. The Comfortable level also saw increases from the cost pressures on food and energy use, but the overall percentage increase was lower than at the Moderate due to adjustments the in-depth discussion groups made to expenditure in some categories such as a smaller car.

The research is designed to help people know what they need for retirement and give them an idea how much to save.

CSPA campaign and lobby for pensions to give everyone an income that ensures dignity in retirement. More information can be found at: Home – PLSA – Retirement Living Standards


Are you a current or retired Civil Servant? Become a member of the CSPA to support our campaigning, and gain access to a wide range of benefits.

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