Making Ends Meet May Tempt Some Pensioners to Crime According to Prudential Retirement Index


LONDON, Feb. 5, 2002 (PRIMEZONE) -- The launch of Prudential's Retirement Index, a new quarterly report researching income and lifestyles of people in retirement, has revealed that 31% of retired individuals survive on under 10,000 Pounds a year. Also:

 -- Up to 107,000(1) retired people turn to crime or
    consider doing so;
 -- Up to 200,000(2) retired people have moved in with
    their children or friends to make ends meet; and
 -- Worrying cut backs on heating costs and 
    could put older people at risk.

The research suggests that the financial hardship facing this group is tempting thousands of retired people in the UK to consider breaking the law to make ends meet. Home Office statistics support these findings, with the last five years seeing a sharp rise in the number of over 65s behind bars. The prison population in this age group has risen by 66% since 1997.

The UK's Prosperous & Poorest pensioners

The average amount of money coming into retired households varies from under 10,000 Pounds in the North East to over 16,500 Pounds in the North West. With the North West and South West regions top of the pensioners income league, perhaps the picture of retirees flocking to the beaches of Blackpool and Bournemouth is still a reality.

 Amounts are in Pounds

 Region    North      South      South      West       Greater  Wales
           West       West       East       Midlands   London

 Average  16,688     14,346      12,666     12,412     12,383   12,244

 Region    Scotland   East       Yorks/     East      North
                      Midlands   H.side     Anglia    East
 Average   12,158     12,132     11,629     10,857    9,713


 --  3.3 million retired people are getting by on 192 Pouinds a week;
 --  15% feel forced to work part-time to supplement their income; and
 --  Up to 200,000 have had to move in with their children or friends
     because of lack of money.

Further research from the Index also suggests that retired people are putting their health at risk by struggling on a low income. Despite the onset of winter and recent figures showing that 20,000(3) elderly people died of cold-related illnesses last year, 9% have cut back on heating their homes. North Easterners are most likely to save on fuel, with the Scots most likely to leave their heating on.

The average predicted household spend by retired people across all regions - February 2002

 Amounts in Pounds

 Region    West        East       North   Yorks/    South   Wales
           Midlands    Midlands   West    H.side    East    
           706         705        656     650       601     597
 Region    East        North      Greater    South     Scotland
           Anglia      East       London     West 
           529         522        521        502       469

Jetting away from it all: East Midlanders are most likely to splash out on holidays with East Anglians preferring to stay at home. After holidays, the nation's retired would appear to be a generous bunch by spending spare cash on gifts for family and friends. Having said that, the Scots are least likely to buy presents, preferring to spend any extra cash on clothes for themselves.

Gary Hitchens, Director of the Customer Channel said: "Our research paints a potentially gloomy picture for some of the nation's retired people whose financial situation could be improved if they made sure they are receiving all of the state benefits to which they are entitled. We believe that a large number of pensioners are either not aware of all their entitlements or too proud to claim them.

"Sadly, unless today's working population takes planning for their retirement more seriously, their so-called golden years could turn sour and the financial hardships they face could be more severe than those experienced by today's retired population.

"To help ensure a comfortable retirement, it is generally advisable to save 15% of your annual income into a pension fund. In reality this is the exception as opposed to the norm. It is estimated that the nation needs additional savings of 27 billion Pounds(4) a year to generate an acceptable retirement income.

Hitchens concluded, "Today's working population must wake up to the fact that they have to take greater responsibility over what sort of retirement they can look forward to. Economically, with an aging population and shrinking workforce, most commentators agree that the level of support provided by the state is likely to decline."

For further information from Prudential on saving for retirement, customers can call free, 800 316 2022.

Notes to Editors:

1. Prudential questioned 435 retired adults from Jan. 11-17, 2002. National Office of Statistics state the number of men aged 65+ and women aged 60+ is 10.7 million.

2. Same as above.

3. Help the Aged, December 2001.

4. Association of British Insurers (ABI) - 2002.

For case studies or interviews with Gary Hitchens please contact the Prudential Press Office

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