State Pension  

Shortfall day: State pensions run out 13 days sooner

Shortfall day: State pensions run out 13 days sooner

Retired couples have reached the point at which their average yearly spending exceeds the annual state pension, which has fallen almost two weeks earlier than in the past year.

Analysis from Just Group said the state pension shortfall day is today, August 31, for average pensioner couples and September 3 for single pensioners.

This compares to last year when shortfall day fell on September 12 for pensioner couples and September 16 for single pensioners.

According to Just, two full state pensions equal £18,680 a year, while official figures show the average annual spending for a two-person retired household is a considerably higher £28,064.

This leaves a gap of £9,384 that must be plugged by other sources of income, for example private pensions or other savings and investments. Otherwise the retired couple will run out of money by the end of August.

Single pensioners entitled to the full state pension receive £9,340 per year and spend £13,842 a year on average - a shortfall of £4,502.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said shortfall day highlighted why it was important for people to not put off saving or opt out of a workplace pension scheme.

Lowe said: “Those thinking of accessing pensions cash before they retire will also want to consider what that might mean for their income in a few years’ or decades’ time. 

“The government’s free, independent and impartial guidance service – Pension Wise – helps people approaching retirement to understand their options better.

"Before tapping into pension savings, we urge everyone who’s entitled to a free Pension Wise session to make use of it – it’s proven to improve people’s knowledge of their retirement options and equip them with greater confidence to make good decisions about their retirement finances.”

There has been speculation that the government could scrap the state pension triple lock uprating guarantee as pressure has piled on the chancellor after average earnings have jumped following the pandemic year. 

Under current triple lock rules the state pension is increased by the highest of earnings growth, price inflation or 2.5 per cent a year.

However, the analysis found even if the triple lock was implemented at 8 per cent, single pensioners would still face a shortfall of more than £3,500 every year, reaching nearly £8,000 for retired couples.

amy.austin@ft.com

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