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Debt in retirement

(140 Posts)
LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 02-Feb-18 08:01:52

We've been asked to comment on this story out today. Do you think a 'comfortable retirement' is becoming more difficult for people to achieve because of extra demands on finances? According to this report, debt in retirement is continuing to climb with nearly one in five expecting to stop work this year owing an average £33,900. What are your thoughts on this?

Charleygirl Fri 02-Feb-18 08:13:00

I have never been in debt in my life, discounting having a mortgage. I paid off my mortgage when I retired using my lump sum. Living in London on my own is not easy so after retirement I found myself 3 part time casual jobs to top up the coffers. Having surgery following a # ankle stopped that.

If I cannot afford it I do not buy it and that would include expensive holidays- I prefer my home.

gillybob Fri 02-Feb-18 08:23:28

We will probably never be able to retire properly. DH is 66 and working longer hours than he ever has. I’m 56 so another 12 years at least for my state pension . We have no savings and a mortgage, loan and credit card debts. This is because we don’t have a steady monthly income and often rely on CC’s to just get by. I certainly don’t have luxurious holidays etc. And have already downsized so no property wealth to fall back on either. I just hope and pray we are able to clear our debts before we die. All in all the future looks very uncertain .

ninathenana Fri 02-Feb-18 08:33:49

Same as Charleygirl basically. H took early retirement/redundancy 10 yrs ago. We were lucky to have a fair pot left after paying of our small mortgage. We have helped our daughter out a lot
I think the very low interest rate at the moment does not help. In our parents day if you had saved you had a reasonable income from the interest with which to replace the broken washing machine etc.
I'm scared that our pot will not last our life time as it is fast deminishing, despite the fact H does seasonal gardening jobs and has a good works pension. (I have no income)
Holidays are a weekend away in the UK and my car is '07 plate, we don't drink except on special occasions and neither of us smoke but we have to be fairly careful with money.
Having said that I realise that there are a lot of people far worse off. I do count my blessings and would say we are 'comfortable'

annsixty Fri 02-Feb-18 08:42:04

There are many like you gilly who through no fault of their own, find themselves struggling.
Illness, redundancy, breakdown of marriages when assets have to be divided, all lead to enormous difficulty.

We have all those in our family and we find ourselves supporting others financially because we personally had none of those during our working lives.
We had the breaks, a lot don't.
They will have inherited by the time they retire, unless, and it is a huge worry to me, it all goes in care home fees.

TwiceAsNice Fri 02-Feb-18 08:46:45

I live alone after divorce. The divorce expenses took the whole of the lump sum payment with my first small pension. I have two very small private pensions and received the state pension in August last year. I work part time, but think I would never manage financially if I didn't. I love the work I do so its not a hardship but wonder how I will manage in the future when I might not be well enough to continue. I have some debt which I am paying off and have enough money to live reasonably but not enough for a lot of luxuries. I am happy though

NanaandGrampy Fri 02-Feb-18 08:51:44

I have no debt but have no pension either.

Its lucky DH has a good one. A combination of the government moving the retirement goalposts and early retirement due to ill health have financially disabled a lot of women my age. I cannot imagine how I would cope if I had to continue working now until my pensionable age.

Marydoll Fri 02-Feb-18 09:00:59

I had to retire early on ill health grounds and only have a small occupational pension for income, as I won't receive my state pension for another 4 years.
The whole system is totally unfair. I have two friends, just a couple of years older than me, who are already receiving their state pension as well as an occupational one and are quite comfortably off. Those of us in our early sixties, who were looking forward to retirement have been penalised through no fault of our own.
Thank goodness my husband has a good occupational pension, in addition to his state pension or I would have been in financial straits. We have no debts and pay off our credit card at the end of each month. We get airmiles with it, which we put towards a holiday.
In hindsight, the one thing I would have changed, is that when I was working, I had saved more. We still have a comfortable life, but just cut our cloth to suit.
The things that do cost us a lot are fuel and Council tax. Our fuel bills are high, as due to my ill health, the central heating is always one.
I'm an expert at findings bargains. Where possible, I never pay full price for holidays, food shopping, clothes etc. I'm always looking for money off vouchers, free delivery and have store points cards.
I do realise that compared to many we are very fortunate to be debt free and still manage to go on holiday and have the occasional meal out. I remember my parents struggling with money, when the were pensioners.
I'm always nagging my children to think of the future buy have decent pension plans and saving for the future.

gillybob Fri 02-Feb-18 09:03:44

Hard work counts for nothing anymore it’s all about being in the right job in order to eventually get the right pension .

There was a time when the future looked okay for us. We had a nice house, a lovely static caravan and little pension pots of our own. Now sadly all gone . If DH and I had our time again we would never run our own business but it was kind of forced on us due to very ill health . Please don’t judge anyone for having debt until you know the facts .

mollie Fri 02-Feb-18 09:16:32

I had a very short first marriage and a very long time as a single parent working basic income jobs and not making ends meet so no pension. Then the government decided I could wait another seven years for what little pension They would give me. I hit my 50s when the last financial collapse happened and found myself out of work. I had just got married for a second time and it seems that all my contributions meant nothing to the government - I had a husband and I was his responsibility.

The poor chap had lost much of his own pension pot and property in divorce and was starting again when we met. Weve struggled and are managing but the future isn’t assured nor do we have much spare for holidays and all the wonderful things that the youngsters think we have. In fact my son is better off than us so it looks like we will be eating into our equity to float along in our old age rather than leaving everything to him. It makes me furious when the press generalises about the older generation having it all and squandering the inheritance of those coming behind.

mollie Fri 02-Feb-18 09:21:06

Sorry for the rant. As I’m not officially retired, nor is OH, my comments don’t count. Apologies.

LaraGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 02-Feb-18 09:37:50

Thank you everyone for your comments. And mollie, you comments definitely do count!
Is this a more widespread problem than we think? Do people tend to keep quiet about their financial difficulties or future retirement concerns?

Chewbacca Fri 02-Feb-18 09:55:10

Like Charleygirl I've never been in debt or owned a credit card in my life; apart from a mortgage, paid up long ago. My state pension age has been deferred by 5 and a half years and so I still have another year and a half to work before I get it assuming they don't defer it again. I still work part time and I'm fortunate that I'm well paid, but I have no private pension to look forward to and so I save as much as I can every month. My health has taken a bit of a knock this past few months and I'm no longer certain that I'll be able to work to state retirement age. I'm hoping that my savings will support me and eke out my state pension when I do eventually get it. I consider myself fortunate to have been able to save.

gillybob Fri 02-Feb-18 10:02:36

I often feel judged for my situation. Like I have deliberately put myself into this situation or I haven’t worked hard enough. When infact the opposite is true. I hate having to rely on credit cards and short of some minor miracle can’t see a way out either.

annsixty Fri 02-Feb-18 10:07:02

I do think the rise in divorce rates play a significant part in money problems as posters have shown.

Fennel Fri 02-Feb-18 11:21:37

So if an elderly couple both die, still in debt, mortgage or other. Even if they have a house to sell, that might not cover the debts.
So who is liable?

NanaandGrampy Fri 02-Feb-18 11:25:48

I also have to say I really object to being my husbands financial responsibility in terms of benefits etc. I worked for 40 years , paid my taxes etc and never claimed a thing but instead of being assessed on my own contributions its all about us as a couple.

grandmaz Fri 02-Feb-18 11:35:43

I do sympathise with those who are struggling. I retired in 2014, earlier than planned due to a very stressful job impacting my health and no support whatsoever from my employers following a diagnosis of heart health problems. I have my state pension and two other tiny pensions, the sum total of which add up to less than £11,000 pa. Due to divorce in my 50's I have ended up in the rental sector and am lucky that I was allocated a one bed council flat when I was 60. I pay very little rent/council tax and I shall get the Warm Home Discount from my energy supplier, this year, for the first time, being over 65 and on a low income. I can't do holidays or evenings out, but do sometimes have a coffee in town with a friend and I do a little voluntary job on a Friday afternoon, which gets me out. Clothes come in the main from charity shops or Primark. In the summer I do try to have a couple of days at the seaside, using my bus pass, or the car, depending on the cost of parking! I have worked all of my adult life, paid all my tax and NI comtributions and so forth, however here I am, scraping by in retirement. My car is 20 and I do hope that it will stagger on for a while longer as it does at least mean that I can get out a bit, to see family and to volunteer. I do owe about £1200 on a credit card, plus I have a bank loan of just over £2000. I am paying these off at more than the minimum required just to try to be rid of them as soon as possible. Life is not all cruises and golden days...for many of us it is just a question of getting by somehow and hoping that things get no worse. I have my family and a few close friends locally, so I am fortunate in this respect, if not financially.

whitewave Fri 02-Feb-18 11:36:52

Life is really hard for so many. We have friends who run their own small business a car cleaning company- out by 6.30am and not Home until 5.30pm at least 6 days @ week. It is hard physical work and outside in al, weathers. They are both in their 60s

They are both without any real skills so have never had the opportunity to be employed by a company which provides a pension, and they have never earned enough to have any savings. I suspect t although I don’t know that life was so tough at times that their NHI contributions are short of required necessary for the state pension.

I bet there are many like them.

Florence64 Fri 02-Feb-18 11:51:12

We are in the same position as gillybob, except we own our own house, after downsizing due to financial problems, but it's a very small house with a kitchen and bathroom that are falling apart and it feels like all our peers own larger properties and can afford brand new cars, holidays abroad and spend money on their children and grandchildren. Again it's no fault of our own, but my husband works in the construction business and since the recession when he was first made redundant he's been in and out of work, often on short-term contracts and when he's out of work we've had to draw on all our reserves to get through, which means we haven't been able to save and we're in debt. We don't tend to mix with friends any more. We can't entertain as we're too embarrassed and we don't know how we are going to survive old age as saving for a pension has been put on the back burner to survive. My guess is we will have enough pension to take us over the threshold for benefits, but not really enough to survive on. I also suffer from ill health, but not quite enough to qualify me for benefits. I find our situation makes me feel 'grubby' somehow, like I can't face the world.

Telly Fri 02-Feb-18 12:02:46

I think it is about expectations. My grandmother had and expected nothing. Today we see what others have and expect the same but unexpected financial blows are difficult to recover from. Equally women in their 60s have been dealt with very badly.

Breda Fri 02-Feb-18 12:27:19

We too don’t envisage retiring at any point as we simply wouldn’t be able to afford to do so. Apart from state pensions which we don’t yet receive we will have no other form of income unless we carry on working. I have worked, albeit in a part time role, all of my adult life and my husband has worked full time but we never had the benefit of occupational pensions and frankly could never afford personal pensions as we never earned enough. We try very hard not to think about the future.

I do get a little bit cross when I listen to some people telling the world ‘how hard it is for them’and ‘it wasn’t this hard for previous generations’- it’s simply not true in all cases. Buying a house has always been difficult; we recall the incredibly high interest rates in the ‘70’s which crippled so many folk on modest incomes, and looking after a family is hard work and expensive but worthwhile.

Our biggest worry is becoming a financial burden for our children and I would be mortified if that should happen. Our aim is to keep going for as long as possible!

mimiro Fri 02-Feb-18 12:39:03

this is for people from the USA
unfortunatelly it cant help those in uk
if you are
senior/on ss/ pension(including survivors pension)
go here

a law no one knows about
i am a 60 yr old on va survivors pension and qualified/these people are wonderful and knowledgable.they cant help with mortgage or bamk overdrafts but almost everything else

jusnoneed Fri 02-Feb-18 12:47:17

We have never had any debts other than the mortgage which was paid by the time my OH retired. He has his single state pension and two small private ones, he was self employed (building trade) for a few years so paid into one then and then worked at a private school and had another through that. I have worked mainly (and still do) part time so have no great amount to look forward to when I reach 66 - if they don't move it again.
If we had to rely on the state pension it would be a struggle, don't qualify for any benefits as we have some savings. Penalised like many for working and saving, will get nothing to help our heating or bills. If we'd spent every penny we would get rebates etc. Very unfair system.

cornishclio Fri 02-Feb-18 12:53:20

We never had debts apart from a mortgage which we paid off 10 years ago. DH is 59 and I am almost 58 and we both have taken early retirement within the last 2 years. We both have good pensions investments and savings but we overpaid and saved hard for them so are comfortable now. We still managed to do holidays etc but we have never been unemployed or divorced or had periods if sickness luckily. I think if you have had to cope with any of those it is more difficult to keep out of debt