Why you might need a bigger emergency savings pot in retirement – here’s how to build one up

·2-min read
How to build up a bigger emergency savings pot for retirement (Alamy/PA)
How to build up a bigger emergency savings pot for retirement (Alamy/PA)

Many people know it’s wise to keep an emergency savings pot to cover the bills and core living costs for at least a few months, in case something unexpected happens, or you suddenly need to cover some important repairs.

But how much money should you be keeping in your emergency pot in retirement? It may be more than you think.

Nearly a fifth (17%) of over-65s often worry about their lack of savings, financial services provider Hargreaves Lansdown recently found. One in 12 (8%) retirees could cover the essentials for less than a month from their savings, and another one in six (16%) could cover between one to three months’ worth.

Sarah Coles, a personal finance analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, says as a rough rule of thumb, people should have three to six months’ worth of essential expenses set aside in a competitive easy-access account. But after retirement, this actually grows to one to three years’ worth of savings, she says.

Many people may think they need a smaller emergency pot in retirement, with – hopefully – the mortgage having been paid off, and children having flown the nest.

But Coles says that as those who have ended work can’t meet emergency costs out of future earnings, it’s vital they have an adequate financial safety net to deal with the unexpected.

Coles shares the following top tips to help retirees build a bigger emergency savings pot…

1. Calculate what your annual expenses are likely to look like – focusing only on the essentials.

2. Consider any existing sources of this money. You might be able to access tax free cash from your pension, or have Isas set aside. If you’re planning to downsize, you could consider putting the first chunk of this money aside as emergency savings.

3. If you need to save from your income, look at what you have coming in and what you are spending, and see whether it’s possible to free up cash.

4. If your budget is too tight to save, and you’re early on in your retirement, paid employment might be an option. It doesn’t need to look anything like your previous job. Some people can make money from the skills they’ve built up over the years, such as DIY or gardening.

5. Consider whether your home could help produce extra income. You might be able to rent out a room for a period. You could consider renting out your drive or any extra storage space.

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