Thousands of pensioners are being forced to dip into savings to keep afloat as their incomes have fallen to an 18 month low.
The typical monthly income for the over- 55s fell by six per cent to just £1,216 from June to September, the lowest figure since February 2010.
Worst hit are the over-75s - who receive on average £999 a month - but a quarter of those in retirement survive on less than £750 per month. In contrast, inflation over the past year has risen 4.5 per cent - with many staple items such as food and bills rising much higher.
Aviva, who collected the data, said low interest rates on savings and lower savings in general have hit the incomes of all retirees. Pensioners - particularly those who have newly retired - have also been hit by a fall in annuity rates, which pay a set amount every year.
The average amount of savings held by the over-55s fell by 12 per cent to £10,468 - showing how pensioners are having to use savings to fund the everyday cost of living. A quarter of over-55s had less than £500 in savings.
Clive Bolton, spokesman for Aviva, said the over-55s struggled to keep up with the rising cost of living on a relatively fixed income.
He said: ‘’That almost a quarter of this age group have less than £500 in savings and 40 per cent save nothing is a clear indication that this age group is struggling financially.
‘Nearly 75 per cent of the 10,000 pensioners involved in the study said the rising cost of living was their main concern for the next six months’, he added.
And concerns are set to increase after the news that all the Big Six energy firms - British Gas, Scottish and Southern, EDF, E.ON, Npower and Scottish Power - have put their prices up.
These hikes have left the average family £156 worse off and piled hundreds of millions of pounds on to energy bills this year. In total, energy and electricity bills have risen 45 per cent from 2007 to £1,280.
A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: ‘’We are committed to getting pensioners the support they need in retirement. Our triple guarantee will mean an extra £45 billion for pensioners in the next 15 years.
‘’We have also protected key support for pensioners including winter fuel payments and we have tripled the cold weather payments.’’
DWP Select Committe Report: Hargreaves Lansdown's Verdict - 26 April 2013
The budget - 21 March 2013
Pension increase - 14 March 2013
Universal pensions - 23 January 2013
Age UK’s statement on the pension changes - 15 January 2013
Campaigns & Issues
Woodland Court staff face secure future thanks to Brunelcare
Residents and staff at a retirement village in Downend have finally reached the end of two years of uncertainty, following the acquisition of Woodland Court by Brunelcare.
Previous owners of the 57 apartment village, Care Village Group, went into administration in June 2011, leaving the residents and staff with an uncertain future.
The top priority for the Bristol based charity has been to retain all 27 members of staff to ensure that the support services are maintained, whilst minimising any disruption to the residents.
WRVS becomes Royal Voluntary Service as it marks 75 years
1.3 million over 75s will need support in future to stay independent
Today, 75 years on from its founding as the Women’s Voluntary Services, WRVS is dropping the W from its name and relaunching as the Royal Voluntary Service with a pledge to help two million older people over the next 10 years.
The decision to change its name comes as the charity recognises the need to meet the demands of an ageing population and to be more visible to men as well as women. And fresh research reveals the scale of this need – 26 per cent of over 75 year olds say that they think they will need support in future in order to stay living independently in their own homes, with almost a third of men (29 per cent) stating that is the case.
Competitions & Fun
Win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 handset!
We’ve teamed up with Doro to give four very lucky Mature Times readers the chance to win a Doro PhoneEasy 515 mobile phone.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has been designed to provide an easy-to-use mobile for people who might find mainstream handsets difficult or confusing to use. This beautifully stylish candybar phone features an easy-to-use camera enabling you to capture those spontaneous photos quickly and easily before sharing them with others.
The Doro PhoneEasy 515 has several user-friendly functions including a direct SMS key and a charging cradle to make charging hassle free. It also has a large keypad, enlarged text for easy dialing and messaging and a loud, clear sound.
Win a prize at home or away in this month's prize draw with Silver Travel Advisor!
Enter now and you could win a prize at home or away! How about a 7 night break for 2, with flights included, in beautiful Slovenia? Or a trip to London’s glitzy theatreland, staying in a 4* hotel? Both fabulous treats which must be won!
Silver Travel Advisor is a friendly website packed with advice, tips, information and honest reviews written by and for silver travellers (aged over 50). A team of advisors are on hand to answer queries (for free), and you can share your own experiences too.
Health & Wellbeing
Loneliness is a ‘ticking time bomb’
One in three people over the age of 50 struggles with loneliness – fuelled partly by a rise in later life divorces, according to an official study. Figures show almost seven million members of the baby-boomer generation and above admit to feeling lonely.
Research published as part of David Cameron’s plan to measure the nation’s ‘happiness’ said almost half of people over 80 feel lonely - many “much of the time”.
Campaigns groups say the study, by the Office for National Statistics, suggests the generation approaching retirement will be a “loneliness time bomb”.
Property & Finance
15 per cent of population claim financial worries are affecting their health
aspect of their lives
Leisure and Lifestyle
Singing you heart out
Music sensation Billy Ocean takes time out talk to Laura Heads about the release of his latest album and how making music has changed dramatically during his 40 year career.
The star has sold over 30 million records in his lifetime and has collected a pile of Gold and Platinum awards across the world. Billy’s unique reggae infused voice and musical style, representing his Trinidadian roots, are recognisable anywhere and it is that which has earned him his well-deserved number ones.
And the well-loved singer-song writer said that the way music is made has changed a lot since he first began in the 1970s. He said: “Music is now controlled by technology. New artists allow technology to control what they are doing.
New guide to travel insurance launched
THIS IS A handy to use and easy to read guide packed with tips aimed at helping older travellers when considering the purchase of travel insurance.
The guide came about as a result of the numerous enquiries we received here at the Mature Times’ offices regarding travel insurance for older people. MT Editor Andrew Young says ‘We receive many, many e-mails, letters and telephone calls from our readers regarding this subject. We know that as you get older travel insurance becomes more expensive, but there are ways that you can try to help offset some of these increases – and this guide can help you do that.’
The paper is better than ever, more professional, carrying a profusion of by-lined articles that are intensely relevant and interesting to us oldies. Take a bow, Editor. You and your team are doing a great job.