Income security and a good retirement

Document type
Parry, Will; Lloyd, James
Strategic Society Centre
Date of publication
14 July 2015
Older Adults, Poverty Alleviation Welfare Benefits and Financial Inclusion
Social welfare
Material type

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This report describes the results of explorative, quantitative research into the association between level of secure income and a range of retirement outcomes, for retirees in England with some form of private pension income. The research was undertaken in the wake of the April 2015 changes to rules on ‘Defined Contribution’ (DC) pension savings, which broke with the previous regime – known as the ‘annuities deal’ – which required DC pension savers to convert their savings into a secure income at retirement. The study analysed data from Wave 6 (2012-13) of the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA), which is a longitudinal, multidisciplinary social survey undertaken every two years, of a representative sample of the English population aged 50 and older.

The report concludes that if the April 2015 pension reforms result in pension savers obtaining a lower secure income with their DC pension savings, it would appear that levels of wellbeing in the older population are likely to decline, for example, in relation to: 

  • Participation in leisure activities, such as going to the cinema, reading a daily newspaper and taking a holiday during the last year
  • Owning a mobile phone, giving money to children and making charitable donations
  • Life satisfaction, for example reporting that the “conditions of my life are excellent” and “I have got the important things I want in life”, and being less likely to report that “I feel what happens in life is often determined by factors beyond my control”, and
  •  Civic participation, for example, in classes, organisations, and civic and social groups