Retirement planning is easier as a couple, midlifers say

Forty-five per cent of UK adults between the ages of 45 and 54 have said that retirement planning is easier in a long-term relationship, research by Phoenix Insights has found.

The research by Phoenix Group’s longevity think tank revealed that 16% disagreed with this statement.

The group said the financial cost of being single can make saving for retirement more difficult, particularly for those who live alone and pay living costs, such as rent, mortgage, utilities and food, from one income.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that people who live alone spend on average 92% of their disposable income each month, compared with people in two-adult households who spend only 83%, leaving less money to put towards savings.

The research also looked at who is regularly saving for retirement, with 48% of midlifers in a relationship putting money towards their future retirement income, compared to 37% of those who are single.

Head of research of policy at Phoenix Insights, Patrick Thomson, said: "Single people typically pay more on bills and other daily expenditures than those in a couple with two incomes where costs can be shared. This squeeze on income not only affects short-term finances but can have knock-on effects on the ability to save for retirement.

"The cost of living crisis has squeezed incomes further so it’s more important than ever that people take stock of their current and future spending needs and put a plan in place for their long-term savings.

"As many as 18 million people in the UK are not adequately financially prepared for retirement so regardless of relationship status, there is a pressing need for people to take steps to boost their long-term savings."

Furthermore, figures from the 2021 census showed that the proportion of one-person households in England and Wales decreased compared to 2011 in all groups apart from the mid-50s to 60s group, which has seen an increase.

This increase is most pronounced among those aged between 60-69, an age range which Phoenix Group described as "a crucial pre-retirement life stage with people planning for and entering retirement".

Thomson added: "While the UK has generally seen a fall in the number of people living alone over the last 10 years, the age group closest to retirement has bucked this trend. There could be many factors at play for this, including later life divorce and separation, and this could make retirement saving more difficult if facing increased living costs."

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