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Millions hope for lottery win to fund retirement

Over-50s workers are taking a gamble on their future plans, with the majority failing to actively save for retirement and 13% hoping for a lottery win to fund their lifestyle. Just one in five over-50s workers are seriously saving for retirement, according to research by Aviva, with a significant number relying on external factors to finance their later life. Which? looks at how prepared over-50s are for retirement and what steps you should take to safeguard your future income.

Over-50s gamble on retirement

Over 2 million workers over 50 are yet to put a retirement plan[1] in place, the research from Aviva found.

Around 42% of over-50s workers have not started to calculate how much they need to save to afford a comfortable retirement and 41% are unaware of how much they will actually need. Just 22% of over-50s workers say they have started to take their pension savings seriously. Instead, individuals are relying on external factors which are out of their control to bankroll their retirement.

Around 24% of workers hoped an inheritance would fund their twilight years. Worryingly, a staggering 1.3 million over-50s workers (13%) are depending on a lottery win to retire comfortably.

A quarter of workers over 50 are relying on making a profit from downsizing to a smaller home or relocating to a different area. The average amount of equity already or expected to be released from a property is GBP57,140, Aviva found – making the family home one of the biggest assets most people own.

But this strategy leaves workers at the mercy of the housing market, where prices can stagnate or even fall. Despite data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) indicating that over half of adults in the UK are confident their retirement income will give them the standard of living they hope for, Aviva’s research raises alarm.

What are over-50s spending on?

For workers in the UK, income levels tend to peak at the age of 51, Aviva found. This is broadly supported by data from the ONS, showing employees now aged 65 hit their peak earning potential at the age of 53.

Just over a third of older workers (34%) began to save up more during this period of peak earnings, while 12% have started a private pension scheme and another 12% plan to contribute more to an existing workplace pension. But a large proportion are giving priority to other financial demands. One fifth (21%) of over-50s workers say that they intend to spend on big one-off purchases such as a new kitchen, car or building an extension, while around 20% put spending on everyday living and enjoying themselves first.

For some workers, this could be less a choice than a necessity – one in three older workers reported being unable to save after paying for everyday living costs.

With CPI inflation rising to a five year high, more than half (54%) of over-50s workers agree that the rising cost of living poses the biggest threat to their standard of living within the next five years.

The gender savings gap

Women were found to be less likely to prioritise saving over other financial demands. Roughly 27% of female workers over 50 are yet to have taken a serious approach to pension saving compared to 19% of men. Almost half of female workers have not calculated how much they need for retired life, compared to 36% of men.

Scottish Widows’ annual Women Retirement Report also found that women are less likely to be saving adequately. On average women were found to have saved GBP64,000 for retirement compared to GBP125,000 for men. Key reasons for the difference include salaries for women not meeting the minimum auto-enrolment contribution threshold and being disproportionately affected by loss through divorce.

How do I kick start my retirement planning?

While saving for retirement can seem daunting, starting early and planning well are both key.

Aviva found that those who were prepared to face retirement had begun planning in their 30s and 40s.

Our interactive guide on retirement savings outlines what you need to do to make a savings plan that works.

You can also find out how much you need for retirement.[3][2]

Find out the approaches other people have already taken for retirement and their plans for the future in our short video.

References

  1. ^ retirement plan (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ interactive guide on retirement savings (www.which.co.uk)
  3. ^ how much you need for retirement. (www.which.co.uk)

Is it worth spending more on your iron?

Ironing is Britain’s least favourite household chore, according to a YouGov poll released earlier in the year.* 50% of us dislike it – more than any other housework – and only 16% of us claim to actually enjoy it. Unless you fall into this minority of happy ironers, the temptation might be to spend as little as possible on an iron – but would parting with a little more cash make this chore easier and cut the time spent at the ironing board? In our most recent round of iron tests, we pitted some models costing as little as ?20 against some that will set you back ?85.

Interestingly, the cheapest ones didn’t always perform worst. If you choose carefully, you could find a cheap iron that does a faster job than a more expensive counterpart and saves you time as well as money. For our round-up of the best cheap irons that perform well, take a look at our top five cheap steam irons[1].

How to pick the best steam iron

So how do you choose an iron that will keep your time at the ironing board to a minimum?

You can’t tell how good an iron is just by looking at it, which is where our reviews – based on exhaustive tests – are invaluable. For something that’s quick and easy to use, start by looking at each model’s ironing performance star rating. This reflects the time and effort required to use each one, so opt for a five-star model for minimum hassle.

The steamier an iron the better, as the hot moisture relaxes fibres and makes them easier to iron. But irons that start off well can lose their touch as they clog up with limescale. To get our limescale-resistance star rating, we simulate three months of use and track the drop-off in steaminess – a high-scoring model will remain as quick and easy to use as it was when brand new.

Hard water contains minerals that form limescale, so if you live in a hard-water area look for an iron with a built-in anti-calc system or self-clean function. The cheapest iron we tested this time around is the John Lewis Steam Iron[2] (?20), which has a self-clean button to help keep the vents clear. If you’re willing to spend more, the Tefal FV5640G0 Turbo Pro[3] (?70) has a removable scale collector in its heel.

Our tests have found that not all of these measures work as well as they should, so we rate them for how well their descaling instructions work. Check our steam iron reviews[4] to find one that lasts.

Make ironing easier

If you’re not keen on ironing, it’s worth making sure it’s as simple as possible. Choose a handle that feels good in your hand – try it for size in the shop if you can.

A soleplate with a thin, tapered tip that fits under buttons will make life easier if you regularly tackle piles of shirts, while a water tank with clear sides means you’ll know when to top up. If you have a lot of laundry to get through, consider a steam generator. These can pump out more steam than an iron and don’t have to be topped up as frequently.

We’ve just tested the Morphy Richards Jet Steam 333021 generator[5] (?60), which costs less than some irons, and steams for well over an hour on a full tank. Soft rubber inserts in the handle make it comfortable to use for long periods.

Latest steam generator and steam iron reviews

Follow the links below to read full reviews for the 15 irons and steam generators we’ve just tested and reviewed: Steam irons

Steam generators

Prices are correct as of November 2017.

* Survey in Oct 2016, published Feb 2017.

References

  1. ^ top five cheap steam irons (www.which.co.uk)
  2. ^ John Lewis Steam Iron (which.co.uk)
  3. ^ Tefal FV5640G0 Turbo Pro (which.co.uk)
  4. ^ steam iron reviews (www.which.co.uk)
  5. ^ Morphy Richards Jet Steam 333021 generator (which.co.uk)

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