Reality bites for pensioners struggling with cost of living

Scottish pensioners are increasingly struggling to cope with the rising cost of living, according to separate reports published today.

More than a third of Scots over 55 expect their standard of living to fall in the next three months, the Real Retirement report by insurer Aviva found.

Inflation is the biggest worry for eight in ten over-55s in Scotland over the next three months, while a quarter are growing more anxious about their dwindling savings income as base rates remain marooned at 0.5 per cent.

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But Scots over 55 are better placed than their counterparts south of the Border to deal with financial stresses, boasting the highest average monthly income in the UK. Almost a third of Scots get some of that income from earnings as more seek to delay full retirement, although 42 per cent are not saving anything each month.

However, the report also found that many over 55s have experienced serious disruption to their careers in the final ten years of their working lives - the period in which they want to boost their retirement savings. Redundancy and illness are the main reasons why 39 per cent of over 55s have suffered unwanted changes to their careers in the decade leading to retirement.

Clive Bolton, at-retirement director at Aviva, said: "With the changes to the default retirement age, people will have more choice as to how and when they finish their working lives.

"However, they do need to remember that some factors remain out of their hands, so it is important to financially prepare for all eventualities."

Bolton's warning is reinforced by research by Prudential, also out today, which said that retired Scots are living on an average of 14,900 a year - 6,300 less on average than they claim to need for a comfortable retirement.

More than a third are finding it harder to survive financially in retirement than they had expected and are bridging the gap by taking on part-time work, downsizing their home or taking out equity release plans.