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Millions of retirees don’t have enough emergency savings

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06/09/2021
Almost half of retirees in Britain don’t have enough money set aside for emergencies, according to research.

A study by Hargreaves Lansdown found 46 per cent don’t have adequate emergency savings yet 37 per cent often worry about their lack of a rainy day fund.

Some 21 per cent of retirees think they have plenty of money set aside for emergencies, but actually fall short.
Many fall significantly short, with one in 12 (8 per cent) able to cover essential expenses for less than a month from savings, and another one in six (16 per cent) able to cover one to three months’ worth.

How much emergency cash should you have?

Until retirement, the general rule is to have three to six months’ worth of essential expenses set aside in an easy access account, but after retirement, this grows to one to three years’ worth.

Sarah Coles, personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “Once we’ve lost our earning potential, we can’t meet so many one-off costs out of income, so we need to be prepared if the boiler breaks or the clutch goes on the car. It means we need to build financial resilience into our planning to ensure we can deal with the unexpected.

“If we’re taking an income from drawing down our pensions, there’s also the risk that this will fluctuate, so we need cash savings to fill any gaps.”

Analysis by Hargreaves Lansdown shows the average person living alone in retirement would need between £15,512 and £46,535 in cash if they covered all their outgoings, but between £8,897 and £26,692 if they excluded the non-essentials they felt they could do without.

For couples, the figures are between £34,960 and £104,897 in cash if they covered all their outgoings, but between £16,988 and £50,965 if they excluded the non-essentials.

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