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Over-55s cut back on heating and lighting to beat inflation

Paloma Kubiak
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Paloma Kubiak

A quarter of over-55s think there is nothing they can do to increase their income which mean they’re opting to turn off heating and lights to cut back on costs.

Six in 10 people aged 55 and over plan to cut back on heating or will switch off lights to make their money go further as inflation stood at 10.1% for September.

According to Key Later Life, over-55s are actively looking to reduce their outgoings and increase their income. For 45% of the 1,000 people polled, they said they would go out less often while 38% said they would turn to unbranded goods.

Meanwhile 35% said they would meal plan more carefully and a third said they would use their car less. Elsewhere, this group said they would cancel subscriptions and try to use less energy when cooking to cut back costs.

Key also found this cohort are looking at ways to boost their income to offset the cost-of-living crisis.

With the full state pension at £9,628 but with rising costs, some plan to cancel non-essential direct debits (29%), move their savings to better performing accounts (18%) or review the benefits they receive to ensure they are receiving their full entitlement.

However a quarter (24%) said there is nothing they can do to increase their income. Retirees (28%) are the most likely to believe this.

Over-55s more vulnerable to price rises

Will Hale, CEO at Key Later Life Finance, said that most people in the UK were “fully aware” of the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and were cutting back where possible.

He said that over-55s were no different but regarding the expenditure going on food and utilities, they were “particularly vulnerable to the price increases we’ve seen” as they tend to spend more on these areas.

Hale said it was “not entirely surprising” that 21% of over-55s said they either don’t know how they will or won’t manage financially with inflationary increases.

He said: “While building up a pension nest egg over your career is arguably the best approach, this is not a possibility for everyone, so they really need to consider all their options including housing equity.

“With over-65s currently sitting on £2.95trn worth of unmortgaged equity there is no doubt that property can play a role to help older people to maintain their standard of living in these challenging times or indeed to assist younger family members who are likely also to be feeling the pinch.”

He added: “The best way to start is to speak to a specialist financial adviser who has in-depth knowledge of the market and the different products available as well as other options that might be considered.

“Some may find downsizing works while others may want the flexibilities and protections offered by equity release or find that they are entitled to claim benefits they were not aware of – it is about finding the right option for their individual circumstances taking into account both immediate needs and long-term implications.”