Photo credit: Philip Taylor (Flickr Creative Commons)
This week’s blog from our General Election Series looks at why ensuring that everyone in later life has enough money is a key part of our ambition for the next Parliament.
While Age UK celebrates the fact that being older is no longer synonymous with being poor, sadly this is still the reality for too many. That is why ensuring that people have enough money is a key part of Age UK’s ambition for the next Parliament and the first of our blogs looking at our five priorities.
There are still 1.6 million older people living in poverty and many others living just above the poverty line. We know this can’t be changed overnight but we believe all politicians should commit to at least halving the numbers in poverty by the end of the next Parliament.
We have highlighted two ways to help achieve this. Firstly let’s ensure there is a decent State Pension that recognises years of work and caring. The full amount of the new State Pension being introduced on 6 April 2016 will be more than £150 a week and will provide a boost for many low earners and women who have spent many years caring or in part-time low paid work. Continue reading
Posted in Campaigning, General, General Election 2015, Government, Income, Money Matters, Pensions
Tagged #GeneralElection2015, #votelaterlife, A great place to grow older, a great place to grow older Age UK, Age UK, Age UK blog, Age UK General Election campaign, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, Incomes, money matters, older people, pensioner poverty
This week’s blog, from our General Election series, is a guest post from campaigner John Haywood.
I originally got involved with Age UK when I was advised to visit the Age UK shop in Romford- they’ve got a little office at the back where I was given a benefits check. It was such a relief- I’d been struggling to pay my bills, and they told me I was actually entitled to a whole load of benefits, like exemption from council tax and Pension Credit. It’s made a vast difference to me. Now, I’m telling people my story, and campaigning to make sure other older people get what they’re entitled to.
John Haywood, campaigner
As an Age UK campaigner, I’ve been involved in the General election campaign. I sat on the Age UK sofa opposite Big Ben and explained how I thought we could make Britain a great place to grow older. For me, the essential thing I want to see from the next parliament, is a commitment to making sure older people have enough money to be comfortable. And that they know about what is available to help them if they don’t.
I speak to so many people who just don’t know what help they could be getting. Day to day, I give people as much information as possible. I tell them about Age UK and the help they can get- for instance, a friend of mine who is 80, and cares for his 92-year old sister. But this isn’t enough. The government needs to commit to ensuring older people have enough information, and know where to go to get it. I was terrified at the thought of how I’d get by when I retired. I only found out about benefits checks by chance- someone mentioned it to me on the bus, just like I now mention it to people I meet on the bus! It shouldn’t be down to chance, because it is so essential. Continue reading
Posted in Campaigning, General, General Election 2015, Government
Tagged #GeneralElection2015, #votelaterlife, A great place to grow older, a great place to grow older Age UK, Age UK, Age UK blog, Age UK General Election campaign, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, older people
Photo credit: Linus Bohman (Flickr Creative Commons)
This week’s guest blog is from across the Atlantic. David C. John is a senior strategic policy advisor at the AARP Public Policy Institute. AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, with a membership of more than 37 million older people across the USA.
American experience strongly suggests that the coming UK pension freedoms sound better in theory than they will work in practice. After nearly a decade where the UK has been the gold standard for retirement savings policy, it is about to take a step that it may regret.
As annuity purchases are not required, very few Americans buy them, feeling that they are spending a great deal of money for a comparatively small monthly income. Even those in traditional DB pension plans usually take a lump sum if they are allowed to do so. As a result, many US retirees spend unwisely, trust the wrong financial advisor, or make other financial mistakes.
Many people greatly overestimate how long their savings will last. Most others assume (often wrongly) that they can manage their own money as well as anyone else or that they can live comfortably on Social Security alone. US Social Security pays a benefit that depends on the retirees’ individual income history. The average annual amount is about $13,000 (GBP 8,700).
One survey found that in West Virginia, a state with a relatively low average income, 78% of those near retirement and 67% of those at retirement would likely outlive their financial assets. Workers with lower incomes are most at risk. A recent national study found that by the 20th year of retirement, more than 81% of Americans with incomes up to $27,000 would run short of money, as would 38% of those earning up to $42,000, and 19% of those with incomes up to $65,000. Even 8% of those with the highest incomes could not meet their expenses. Continue reading
Posted in Income, Money Matters, Pensions, Public Policy
Tagged AARP, AARP Public Policy Institute, Age UK, Age UK blog, Ageing, ageing population, ageing society, changes to pensions Age UK, older people, pensions reform, private pension changes Age UK, private pensions, purchasing an annuity Age UK