Want a hot girl retirement? Here's what you need to do

From the Waitrose Nan to the Super Gran - here are the three levels of retirement + how much you need to save to get there

What are we talking about here?

A new report by the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has found that the average cost of a "comfortable" retirement has been pushed up to £49,700 (annual expenditure) for a couple and £36,600 for a single person, up 4.6% since 2019.

An FYI on these stats: they assume you're not paying rent or a mortgage and are on a defined contribution pension (what most private-sector employers have these days), are post-tax and include the State Pension.

The increase is due to altered attitudes toward retirement after the pandemic, with higher budgets for a Netflix subscription (we all need some Regé-Jean Page), eating out, and travelling abroad.


The three 'levels'

The researchers classified retirement lifestyles into three categories:

  • Minimum
  • Moderate
  • Comfortable

Let's look at what that means for you.

The comfortable retirement (aka the Waitrose nan)

She's Bouji AF. This is the kind of nan who slips the grandkids £200 cheques on the regular. You'll be spending £49,700 per year as a couple and £36,600 as a single person, up 4.6% since 2019.


🛍 £94 weekly shop

🚖 Two cars replaced every five years

🧖🏾‍♀️ Beauty treatments (that filler is expensive)

✈️ 3 weeks holiday in Europe every year

A 'comfortable' retirement would mean a couple needs a pension pot of £371,000 per person in a couple or £590,000 as a single person*

A moderate retirement (aka the Glam gran)

Taking it down a notch but keeping it glam. You'll be spending £30,600 a year as a couple or £20,800 as a single person.


🛍  £74 weekly shop

🚖 Two cars replaced every ten years

✈️ Two weeks away in Europe + a long weekend in the UK

A 'moderate' retirement would mean a couple needs a defined contribution pension pot of £133,000 per person or £270,000 as a single person*

A minimum retirement (aka the Super Nan)

Some folk get lucky with a generous pension scheme, a stable & financially supportive marriage but this isn't the majority. In fact, 2.1 million pensioners are now living in poverty with single women at an even greater risk.

Super Nans are the heroes - they make it work, often provide free labour to their families and always slip you a £20 note on your birthday.

A 'minimum retirement' is just enough to have a reasonable standard of living.

A single person would need £10,900 to spend a year and a couple would need a combined income of £16,700

For a couple, this would include:

🛍  £67 weekly shop

🚖  No car

🏡 A week + weekend away in the UK

A 'minimum' retirement would mean a couple needs no defined contribution pension (they could rely on the State Pension) whereas a single person would need a pot of £31,000.

A pension in 3 lines.

A pension is a pot that you save a % of your pre-tax salary into.  When you save into your pension, you rescue some of your income from the taxman 🦸‍♀️ Your employer pays into it too. You can then use that money to fund your retirement. In short, it's savings + free money!

So how much should you be saving?

Firstly, let's just say a big hello to the elephant in the room here: achieving even a moderate retirement is going to be really difficult to do for so many. Living costs are at an all-time high and many have been forced to opt-out of their pension during the pandemic.

Experts suggest at least 12% of your income should be put towards retirement - some recommend as much as 15%. This includes employer contributions.

A good rule of thumb is to halve your age at which you start saving and put that percent away every month. So if you start at 30, you need to put 15% away

What else is within your control?

1) Opt back in - If you can, please opt back into your pension 🙏

2) Find a generous employer - this is underrated. If you're on the hunt for a new job, do some research into the pension scheme. Will they match your contributions for example?

3) Use a Lifetime ISA - This is like a retirement booster shot. You can save up to £4000 per year and get a 25% bonus from the government (thanks Rishi!) so that's £1000 a year. You can use a LISA to buy a home or for retirement.

Self-employed or need to combine your pensions?

Yes, you need a pension too! Stay tuned for a guide coming very soon.

If you’ve been collecting pensions like Pokemon then consolidating can be a great option. By putting them all into one pot you’ve got less to keep track of and you might save money by paying fewer management fees. It’s important to double-check that combining doesn’t mean you’ll miss out on any benefits such as guaranteed annuity rates.

We've previously worked with PensionBee, a brilliant company that are bringing pensions out of the dark ages. I use and love them. They've recently introduced self-employed pensions too - woohoo! 🎉  PensionBee will always tell you if they find any benefits, allowing you to decide if you still want to go ahead with the transfer.

You can learn more here. Please note, this is an affiliate link.

More help please

If you'd like to learn even more about pensions (I mean, who doesn't 🥱), you can sign up for this not-boring masterclass. It's free.


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❇️ Is retirement something you worry about?
❇️ How generous is your pension?
❇️ What kind of retirement do you think you'll have?

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Source: Retirement Living Standards 2021

*For illustration only, figures based on an annuity of £5,000 per £100,000