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2011 an annus horribilis for over-55s

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Published December 2011

Despite a quarter on quarter rise in income and savings, the UK’s over-55s are now significantly poorer than they were 12 months ago, according to our latest Real Retirement Report. The report, the eighth in the series, demonstrates the financial pressures faced by the UK’s three ages of retirement (55-64, 65-74, and over-75).

Here’s a summary of the report’s key findings:

Income slides

Average income for the over-55s rose in the last quarter from £1,216 (September 2011) to £1,285 (December 2011) but is down 4% from £1,335 this time last year. And with year-on-year inflation running at 5.4% this actually means the over-55s are even worse off.

Savings plunge

The typical person over 55 now has £11,153 in savings and investments, which is 27% lower than December 2010 when the average was £15,262. This is partly because more people have found themselves dipping into funds to top up their income in order to meet day-to-day costs.

But, it is also due to the fact that more people have started saving (the latest figures show the number of over 55s with no savings has fallen from 16% (December 2010) to 15% December 2011) and the number of non-savers has hit its lowest level for two years (41% December 2010 compared to 36% December 2011).

Debts growing

The average unsecured debts of the over-55s have increased to £21,901 (December 2011) from £19,878 in March 2011. Total debt of those with mortgages and other debts has also increased to £88,523 (December 2011) from £84,985 in March 2011.

Property wealth

The average house owned by the over-55s is worth £238,284 and the average amount of equity stands at £221,137 (December 2011). Of the three age groups the long-term retired (over 75) have the highest average equity (£260,927).

Commenting on the findings of the latest Real Retirement report Clive Bolton, At Retirement director for Aviva said:

“While the average amount the over-55s have in savings is down this is partly due to the fact that more people are now starting to save, which is good news. However, with income levels falling and inflation rising, it is going to make it difficult for some to maintain their standard of living and to secure a comfortable retirement income for themselves.

The importance of planning for your income in retirement cannot be stressed enough, and the earlier people begin the more they will potentially boost their financial security in the long term.”

Please read our Real Retirement Report (PDF 2,200KB) for more information.

WC04091 05/2012

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