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This is how alcohol affects your pension income

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Nearly 30 million Brits are estimated to drink weekly and while the effects on your waistline and savings are evident, boozers could actually see a boost to their pension income.

We’re not suggesting you binge drink for a quick fix on your retirement income. But to tie in with ONS data relating to the drinking habits of the nation, Hargreaves Lansdown has crunched some numbers to see how alcohol consumption may impact pension pay outs.

The ONS data revealed those aged 45-64 are least likely to be teetotal. Two thirds of those approaching retirement – and who live with someone else – drank in the last week while 57% of those living alone also enjoyed a glass or two.

However, less than half of those aged 16-24 drank in the last week, irrespective of whether they lived alone or with someone else.

What boozing means for your pension

Hargreaves Lansdown calculated that a 65-year-old drinking 24 pints of beer a week would see their £100,000 pension pot buy an annuity of £5,750 a year. This is an extra £279 a year, jumping from £5,471.

But with a pint costing an average of £3.60, the annuity increase would only allow you to keep raising a glass for just over three weeks.

More modest drinkers – those splurging on three bottles of wine a week ­ – would see pension income increase by £96 a year.

Hargreaves Lansdown said that health conditions which can be linked to alcohol consumption can ensure even higher pension incomes.

Someone aged 65 with a £100,000 pension who quaffs three bottles of wine a week might receive £5,567 per year, but the combination of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and being overweight can boost the pay out to £5,912.

The graph below shows the impact of drinking on the income from a single life, non-increasing annuity for a 65-year-old with a £100,000 pension:


Nathan Long, senior pension analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “While older members of society may not cheer their hangovers worsening with age, they may raise a glass to the fact their boozy habits could give them a higher retirement income.

“Annuities are a way of turning your pension into a guaranteed income for life, and providers actually give you a higher income based on certain health and lifestyle conditions, which includes drinking. Even small levels of drinking boosts pension pay outs, so it pays to disclose all of your health information as ultimately they are not expecting you to live quite as long. Use an annuity broker to help you select the provider that will maximise your income.”

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