Save at least £131 a month for a comfortable retirement

Which? reveals that if you’re looking to secure an annual household income of £26,000 in retirement you need to be saving £131 a month from the age of 20 and as much as £633 per month if you leave your retirement saving till your 50th birthday.

At a time when auto-enrolment means that many more people are contributing to a company pension scheme and the pension freedoms mean that consumers are increasingly in charge of their retirement income, it’s more important than ever to know how much you will need in retirement and how much to be saving.

A new Which? survey has found that on average, retired couples found they needed £18,000 a year to cover household essentials – such as food, utilities, transport and housing costs – rising to £26,000 allowing for extras, such as a European holiday and leisure activities. To generate an annual income of £26,000 a couple would need a defined contribution pot of £210,000 in today’s money alongside their current state pension entitlement.

Based on the current retirement ages and state pension entitlements this means that couples who are starting from scratch need to be saving:

  • £131 a month from age 20
  • £198 a month from 30
  • £338 a month from 40
  • £633 a month from 50

Gareth Shaw, money expert at Which? said: “When it comes to saving for your retirement: start early and save often. Being a part of your company pension scheme is a good start, but, depending on how much you contribute, you could well need to save a little more to have the lifestyle you want in retirement.”

Consumers looking for advice on planning for their retirement can use Which?’s free online guide at


Editor’s notes

  1. Saving calculation:

Age and years saving

Amount a couple needs to save per month if starting with no savings to generate £26,000 per year income in retirement

20: state pension age 68, saving for 48 years


30: state pension age 68, saving for 38 years


40: state pension age 67, saving for 27 years


50: state pension age 67, saving for 17 years


Which? assumed that the sum saved receives tax relief at 20%, and savers are targeting retirement’ pot size of £210,000 (what you need to generate enough private pension income to add to state pension income to give the joint retirement income required for a retired couple – £26,000). The sum saved is assumed to grow by 3% a year after charges. The £210,000 figure is for an initial defined contribution pot, which then goes into income drawdown at retirement. Figures shown are in today’s money; to save the future equivalent, your contributions need to keep pace with inflation and your pension savings will need to grow by more than inflation (after charges) as well.

  1. Expenditure research: The chart below shows the annual spending for a retired couple. Each slide represents the average for all who spent on the categories listed. Our research is based on 1,590 retired couples from a survey of 2,749 Which? members in February 2017.


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