How much do you need to retire? New Retirement Living Standards research from Centre for Research in Social Policy

The latest UK Retirement Living Standards have been published by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association.

These standards were developed in 2019 by the Centre for Research in Social Policy at Loughborough University and have been updated in 2021, to capture public thinking and expectations about retirement in contemporary UK.

The standards describe the cost of three different baskets of goods and services, established through research with members of the public, setting out what the public agree to be realistic and relevant expectations for retirement. These baskets include household bills, food and drink, transport, holidays and leisure, clothing and social and cultural participation.

The Retirement Living Standards set out three different publicly determined levels or lifestyles – minimum, moderate and comfortable. These are designed to help people think in concrete ways about the lifestyle they want when they retire, and to understand the cost of this.

This new research is based on 13 online discussion groups with members of the public from across the UK including both retirees and those approaching retirement (55+) to determine changes to the baskets of goods. The research also makes use of the ongoing work to establish the Minimum Income Standard in the UK.

Matt Padley, Associate Director of CRSP, and Senior Research Fellow, who carried out the research said: "It’s really important that these Retirement Living Standards are regularly updated, to make sure that they reflect both current costs and shared understandings and expectations of retirement in 2021.

"We know that over time, norms and expectations can and do change – revisiting these standards on a regular basis helps to make sure that they are useful to people in thinking about what they might need when they retire.

"This new research has identified some small changes in what the public think is needed for a moderate and comfortable retirement. For example, groups increased the amount included for eating out and added Netflix at the moderate retirement living standard – groups said both of these are crucial for feeling fully part of the world around you

"It is amazing that these standards are being used by around 50 pension providers in the UK, covering around 14 million savers, and are helping people to think about exactly what it is that they want life to look like when they reach retirement."

For a Minimum Retirement Living Standard, a single person would need £10,900, while a couple needs £16,700. For a Moderate Retirement Living Standard, one person would need £20,800 and a couple would need £30,600. Finally, for a Comfortable Retirement Living Standard, the annual budget needed by one person is £33,600 in 2021 and £49,700 for a couple.

Read the report.