This story was first published December 5, 2017

Most retirees will use up their savings in just 10 years and rely solely on the state pension after that, a new research suggests.

More than two-thirds of retirement-age Kiwis surveyed in Financial Services (FSC) Council research felt they would not have enough income to live comfortably.

Retirees, on average, expected to have $218 less to spend each week than what they think they would need. The gap was even wider for those still paying off a mortgage or renting.


"Those over 65 and retired think they need $655 per week to live comfortably," said FSC chief executive Richard Klipin.

"Our research shows that, in reality they have, on average, $437 per week."

The FSC, whose members include insurers, fund managers and KiwiSaver providers, engaged Horizon Research to survey nearly 2,200 people on their attitudes and expectations for retirement savings.

"Despite the large collective wealth they've built, most of those aged 65-plus expect their incomes from investments to run out within 10 years of retirement. They expect to live the last 10 or more years of their lives on the government pension alone," the FSC said in a report on the survey findings.

Kiwis aged 65 or older were taking $623 billion worth of property wealth into retirement and just over half in the survey were planning to sell their home to release funds.

However, the FSC said that equity released by people downsizing was expected to last only three years.

The research, gathered in June of this year in an online survey, found that 17 per cent of respondents aged 65 and older were finding retirement difficult.

One 69-year-old Aucklander in the survey said retirement was "bloody bleak".


"I have not been retired long, two months, but it is a bit scary now that the till has stopped," said a 71-year-old woman who took part in the research.

The FSC said nearly four in 10 of the elderly regret not having more financial advice.

"Many still in KiwiSaver want their providers to step up with more advice on how to reinvest savings and the proceeds of selling other assets, like their homes. With 54 per cent of 65-plus homeowners planning to sell their home to help their retirement, the older population still has a keen interest in making the most of their savings and assets," the council said.

As New Zealanders age, the FSC said, they appeared to be worrying less about the income they would have when they stopped working.

The group most anxious about their retirement were those aged between 35 and 44 — 63 per cent of whom were worried and 25 per cent very worried.

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