YOUNG workers could enjoy thousands of pounds extra a year in their retirement if they ditched treats such as pricey lunchtime sandwiches or satellite television in favour of a pension plan.
For the cost of a typical workday lunch at popular sandwich chain Pret a Manger, a 25-year old could put away £96 a month in pension contributions – generating themselves an extra £12,000 a year in retirement income, according to financial services firm Liberty Sipp.
Meanwhile, the pensions company claimed someone of the same age spending £59.50 a month on a typical Sky Sports and Movies package would be £7,440 a year – £620 a month – better off in retirement if they switched the money to a pension.
Someone who redirected their monthly £40 spend on frothy coffees at Starbucks into a pension would be £417 a month better off in retirement, while cancelling the average £50 monthly gym membership in order to put the money into a pension will increase a typical 25-year-old’s income in retirement by £521 a month.
“These figures show what a huge difference putting aside a little extra money can make to your pension,” said John Fox, managing director at Liberty Sipp.
“While no-one is suggesting we give up all treats forever, cutting out small things now – like expensive coffees, a top-of-the-range mobile phone or the odd night out on the town – can ensure our life in retirement is much more comfortable.”
However, those who have left it even a few years later to begin topping up the pension pot would reap fewer benefits from giving up their costly pastimes.
A ten-a-day smoker who quit the habit at age 35 in favour of pension saving would add £7,701 to their annual retirement income, but if they left it until they were 45, the boost would be less than half as much, at £3,830 a year.
Not spending £40 a month on takeaways from the age of 25 would add £417 to a worker’s monthly income in retirement, but if they left it another 20 years to ditch the once a month curry habit, their pension would increase by just £114 a month.
“No-one likes to think about getting old, but far too many of us are saving too little, too late for our retirements,” added Mr Fox. “People need to start saving, and saving regularly, if they are to avoid pension poverty.” Charity Age Scotland warned that while saving for a pension is important, some luxuries should be dropped before others.
“It’s never too early to start saving,” said a spokesman for the charity. “But if you have a gym membership don’t give it up quite yet to boost your pension, as research shows staying active will maximise the likelihood that you’ll enjoy retirement in great health. And there are lots of fun ways to keep fit for free, from walking to gardening, that will also allow you to put more money aside for the future.”
A spokesman for Pret said: “People pay for the quality of our sandwiches, which are freshly made every day – that’s why we are so popular for lunches.”