Average pension pot is £61,897 – so how much retirement income will that buy you?

Expert reveals tips on how to save for retirement

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While £61,897 sounds like a healthy sum to build in workplace and company pensions, you really should be aiming to save much more than that over your working lifetime. Otherwise you could face a shock when you try to turn it into income at retirement.

Saving for a retirement is a struggle, and it will only get harder as the cost of living goes through the roof.

Cash-strapped Brits now have even less money to invest in pensions and tax-free Isas, but should still save all they can.

The alternative is to scrape by in your final years on the State Pension alone.

This will be a struggle as the new State Pension pays a maximum of £9,339 a year. That is barely a third of the average full-time salary.

Financial Conduct Authority research shows the average Briton manages to build pension savings of £61,897 for retirement.

That sounds impressive, until you see how much income it will buy you.

Millions of Britons now leave their money invested after they stop working, and take income and lump sums when they need them.

This is known as drawdown, and is the modern alternative to buying an annuity income for life, which many find restrictive.

Independent financial advisers calculate that if you take four percent of your pension savings through drawdown each year, your pot should never run out.

Unfortunately, this will not give you riches.

If you have the average pension pot of £61,897 and draw four percent of that, your pension income will be just £2,475 a year.

That is a poor return from a lifetime of saving, said Becky O’Connor, head of pensions and savings at Interactive Investor. “To enjoy a comfortable retirement, you really need to save a lot more than that.”

Many Britons draw money at a higher rate than four percent. As we reported recently, more than four in 10 draw down eight percent of their savings each year.

They risk depleting their pension too quickly and running out of money in retirement as a result.

Of course, you should qualify for State Pension on top of the income you generate from your own retirement savings.

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If you added today’s maximum new State Pension income of £9,339 a year to that £2,475 figure, your total annual retirement income would be £11,814.

The best way to get more pension income in retirement is to save as hard as you can when you are working, said Simon Jones, chief executive of Investing Reviews.

He calculates that if you invested just £275 a year from age 18, you would have £120,000 on retirement.

This is double the average pension pot and would generate income of £4,800 a year using the four percent rule, on top of the State Pension.

That’s an extra £400 a month.

Jones said this would lift you above the UK’s minimum income standard for a single pensioner of £10,712 a year. “The nation faces a cliff-edge when it comes to pension provisions for its rapidly ageing population. Topping up your pension by even a modest amount can change that.”

The more you can save in a pension, the better your retirement will be.

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