Wealth no guarantee of a comfortable retirement

Financially comfortable makes for comfortable lifestyle in retirement, right? Not necessarily, according to new research by National Seniors and Challenger Limited.

In a new report, Retirement Comfort – Personalised versus Standard plans, National Seniors and Challenger have uncovered some interesting attitudes amongst seniors and comfortable lifestyle spending.

It found that being wealthy was not necessarily a guarantee of living a comfortable lifestyle.

Conversely, the joint research also found that not everyone on the aged pension found they were ‘constrained’ in their lifestyle spending.

“Being wealthy certainly means people can spend more on their lifestyle, but our research shows that personal priorities and preferences are critical in defining retirement comfort,” National Seniors CEO, Professor John McCallum said.

The report surveyed National Seniors members on spending attitudes on a range of lifestyle categories including:

  • eating out
  • holidays
  • energy bills
  • quality products
  • home renovations
  • household items and appliances
  • phone and internet connection
  • quality clothes.

Respondents were divided into three age groups:

  • Those aged 60 – 69
  • Those aged 70 – 79
  • Those aged 80 +

Interestingly, the category all three age groups felt the least comfortable spending was eating out.

While taking holidays ranked high in spending comfort among the 60 – 69 and 70 -79 age groups, less so for those aged 80 plus.

You can see the results for the other categories below.

As well as wealth, alleviating people’s worry about outliving savings was also very important to their spending decisions. Even if you are wealthy, being worried about having enough to last will affect your spending patterns and financial comfort.

Professor McCallum emphasized that COVID-19 has upended the future for many retirees who are now experiencing serious financial hardship and distress.

“Our planning of a comfortable retirement lifestyle needs to be reinvented and tailor-made,” he said. “This is especially important now that information and advice are becoming increasingly digitalised with the strong temptation to standardise it!”

“Dealing with these issues is a priority to minimise retirees stress. We need to ensure planning for retirement comfort is focused on personally relevant assumptions about future needs”.

To read the full report click here.

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