I’ve mentioned a few times that for my Future Fund and future retirement income, I had been loosely aiming for a ‘Moderate’ standard of living as cited by Retirement Living Standards (RLS), requiring an income of £23.3k.
For ease in my spreadsheets, that was a nice round income of £24k or £2k a month (net). Note that I currently do not need this much to live on and had already adjusted my numbers to account for the double-digit inflation we all had to swallow last year.
So you can imagine my dismay (and shock) to see that RLS had updated their numbers for 2023 and that such Moderate standard of living in retirement had apparently ballooned in just one year by 34.3% to £31,300. Erm, what!?
This predicament has been written about recently by Monevator, and from some of the comments against that post, it seems many believe the numbers are a little ‘frothy’.
Still, I’m sure there will be yet others looking at the higher end/Comfortable numbers and thinking that £43k (£59k for a couple) is nowhere near enough for their lifestyles but each to their own. For me, I mean, I’m not sure what I would spend £31k on, if I had it? I’d have to be frivolous and wasteful.
The numbers come from this report, where 135 people participated in discussion groups, people who were retired but also non-retired individuals over the age of 50.
Although the report makes an interesting read, I’m not sure about the views of this latter group, who I reckon will have somewhat over-estimated their costs.
Which is Which?
Which? have also done their own report on retirement spending, and I’m inclined to believe their numbers are a tad more accurate, given that their research was based on surveying over 5000 retirees on their actual spending.
Which?’s ‘middle’ standard of retirement living requires £20k, so my continued aim for an income of £24k falls within this catergory – phew!
Bills, Bills, Bills
Cost of living aint getting cheaper so all I can do is try to keep the costs within my control from spiralling upwards.
I mentioned that I recently switched my broadband for a saving of £20 a month – I could have gone cheaper but as I work mostly from home, I couldn’t really take the risk of not having fast full fibre (reliable) internet.
My mobile phone monthly was swapped recently from £11 a month to £8 – nothing huge but it all adds up.
Groceries I aim to average £40 a week – doing alternate normal and small weekly supermarket shops seems to be working. A shopping list is a must however, as it’s easy to blow this budget if I just drop things randomly in my shopping trolley, without first checking what I already have in my cupboards/freezer.
I have a credit balance on my electricity/gas account and have been notified that my direct debit will be reducing by £20 a month soon. I’ll leave whatever credit balance is left for next winter.
Water, Water, Everywhere
When I moved into my house, I got a water meter fitted as soon as I could, knowing for a fact that I would make a saving (as with my previous home).
I’ve got a water butt in the garden for my plants (also use that water for my indoor plants) and think I’m doing a decent job of not wasting or using excessive water.
Since I’ve switched to a water meter, I’ve apparently saved £753.98 (over 2 years) compared to if I’d stayed on rateable value bills.
What surprised me was my average daily usage compared to other singleton households…
So it looks like my daily average is around 40 litres, the outlier being 97 litres a day during summer 2022, which would have been due to the heatwave we had and me using the garden tap (plus watering can, to avoid using the hose) to water my parched plants.
But according to United Utilities, other single households typically use 149 litres a day – what are these people doing to use so much water?
Several baths every day/really long power showers, leaving the water running while they brush their teeth/wash the dishes, flushing the toilet needlessly/endlessly? Using the hosepipe daily to water their garden/wash their car?
I’ve never been one to stay in my PJs while working from home (except the time when I had Covid), I’m dressed every day so I shower every day. However, my showers are usually 5 minute max, (I tend to just go over the much vaunted 4 minutes) longer if I have to wash my hair! It’s not just about cost-cutting, it’s about not wasting resources.
I let the washing up pile up in the sink during the day and do it all in one go in the evening, water in a washing up bowl, the old fashioned way.
I do 1-2 clothes washes a week, don’t always have enough dirty clothes for a full load so have to wait sometimes!
I understand that larger households will use a lot more water but seriously can’t see how my norm is so low compared to other singletons? Not that I’m worried about it but it just seems bizarre.
The Only Way is Up
It’s likely that I will probably at some point be left with no alternative but to revise my income numbers – there’s only so much I can do to keep costs down, other costs will creep up which I will have no control over and I don’t want to change my current lifestyle too drastically.
I still think it’s unlikely that I would need £31k though.
I’ll track my spending this year to see if I’m proved wrong.
How does your intended retirement income compare to RLS/Which?