For many people, retiring in your 50s is a primary financial goal. It can open up freedom to pursue the things you enjoy – such as sports, travel and voluntary work. Yet many people also underestimate how much they need to save to retire at 55. After all, UK life expectancy is over 81 years and, in one year, over 15,000 people may live to over 100. Retiring from 55, therefore, could mean needing a pension that lasts multiple decades. In this article, our financial planning team at WMM explores how much pension you need to retire at 55 – suggesting ideas to help people achieve their goals.
How much pension to retire at 55?
Everyone’s income needs are different in retirement. However, studies suggest that in 2022 a couple needs at least £15,700 to cover their basic needs in retirement (or, £29,100 to have a “comfortable” retirement). A single person could live a moderate lifestyle with about £20,000 per year. Assume, therefore, that you retire at 55 and live until 85. This means multiplying these figures by 30, at a minimum, to start to get an idea of how much pension you need to save.
Suppose you need £20,000 per year in retirement. To make this last over 30 years from age 55, you’d need at least £600,000 saved in your pension(s). However, things get more complicated due to different types of pension, as well as inflation.
First of all, most retired people do not simply live on income from a pension “pot” (e.g. from their workplace). They tend to also rely heavily on the State Pension, which comes from the UK government. In 2022-23, the full new State Pension is £185.15 per week (£9,627.80 per year) and requires 35 “qualifying years” on your National Insurance record. This takes away a lot of the pressure to save everything you need for retirement yourself, into a pension pot.
However, secondly, inflation erodes the value of money over time. £20,000 in 2022, for example, will buy fewer goods/services in 2030. This “downward pressure” on the value of your pension pot(s) typically means saving more than you might think you need, to account for the rising cost of living. Fortunately, the State Pension rises each tax year in line with inflation (at minimum). Many “final salary” pensions and annuities also do this. However, you will likely still need to take account of inflation in your pension investment strategy – both before and during retirement.
Ideas to retire at 55
To have a chance of retiring at 55, you first need to understand the pension landscape. Pension “pots” can be accessed from this age (rising to 57 in the future), yet some final salary schemes may not be available until later. Your State Pension, moreover, will not provide an income until you reach State Pension age – i.e. your late 60s. Earlier in your retirement from 55, therefore, it will be wise to consider other tax-efficient investment “vehicles” to provide an income until you can start accessing your pension(s). Here, a stocks & shares ISA can be a good option, since the capital can be accessed at any time.
Also, the less you need to spend in retirement, the less you need to save. For instance, having no mortgage from age 55 would take away a large monthly expense (although this goal may not be a priority or achievable for everyone).
Finally, consider seeking financial advice if you want to retire from age 55. A financial planner can help you think through issues or opportunities you may not have considered. Bear in mind that the earlier you want to retire, the harder it is to project your cash flow, so you may benefit from the software and expertise our experts can offer.
Interested in finding out how we can optimise your financial plan and investment strategy? Get in touch today to arrange a free, no-commitment consultation with a member of our team here at WMM.
You can call us on 01869 331469
This content is for information and inspiration purposes only. It should not be taken as financial or investment advice. To receive personalised, regulated financial advice regarding your affairs please consult us here at WMM (financial planning in Oxfordshire).