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.’’
Government proposes to cut inflation increases for pensions - 08 November 2013
TUC welcomes DWP paper on defined ambition pensions - 07 November 2013
Hands off my pension - 06 November 2013
Review of benefits for the elderly - 17 October 2013
Campaigns & Issues
Fuel Poverty Charity Reaction to E.ON price increase announcement
Elizabeth Gore, Deputy Director of fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland said: "Just one day after learning from the Government that they would get a £50 cut in their energy bills, households are given the news that yet another energy company is increasing its prices.
"Customers are no doubt thinking that it is a case of ‘giving with the right and taking with the left’.
A smart move!
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Competitions & Fun
Fairytale of New York voted top Christmas driving song!
With the festive season fast approaching and Christmas songs becoming a daily feature of radio station playlists, a 1st Central Insurance survey reveals The Pogues' Fairytale of New York is the nation's favourite Christmas song to drive along to.
Whilst drivers surveyed found the radio the least distracting in-car activity compared to mobile phones, children, satellite-navigation systems and chatting to passengers; 1st Central is cautioning motorists to remain focussed whilst behind the wheel this festive season.
Win one of 31 fabulous travel treats from Silver Travel Advisor this December
Enter now and you could win one of the 31 travel treats from our Christmas Stocking.
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
The benefits of a Mediterranean diet in the battle against dementia
In an open letter to the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, experts said persuading people to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, fish and olive oil was a strong strategy for preventing Alzheimer’s.
They argued that the tactic for fighting memory-robbing diseases was "possibly the best strategy currently available", ahead of drugs.
The medics insisted that numerous high-quality studies back their call, but claimed that "compelling" evidence has largely been ignored.
Property & Finance
Annuities: time for regulatory change
The Financial Services Consumer Panel today publishes the findings of its research into the consumer experience of purchasing an annuity, which shows that the market does not work well for the majority of consumers.
The Panel recommends urgent regulatory and government-led structural reform in order to prevent millions of pensioners from losing out.
The Panel’s extensive 12-month study, which included a literature review and three separate pieces of independent research, uncovered evidence of a complex market which is failing to deliver good outcomes for many consumers.
Leisure and Lifestyle
Paula's Wines of the Week starting 9 December 2013
Top Eight Sparkling Wines of 2012 this week. Which is better situation than in 2012 when there was only enough decent bubbly around to make a top five list, while in 2011 there was such a dearth of the decent stuff that a top sparkling round-up couldn’t be justified. So things are a little better this year.
But while we’ve had a Top Ten Whites and Top Ten Reds, and even a Top Ten Under Six Quid, there still wasn’t quite enough tasty fizz this year to make a top ten list. So you’ll have to make do with a top eight instead. And here they are.
"I'm a pensioner, get me out of here!"
Today's pensioners may not have to endure daily Bush Tucker trials to top up their shopping baskets but for almost 70% of people surveyed by the deVere Group, cost of living is the primary concern about retiring in the UK.
According the results of a recent survey of 1,231 over 50's questioned by the international financial consultancy, cost of living is the primary motivation for quitting Britain with almost half (49.5%) stating that they have 'seriously considered', 'are thinking about', or 'would be tempted' to live overseas during retirement.
Obviously as Editor you will have had many letters of thank-you's and well-done's, so please count this as one more from a convert to your excellent paper.