New report finds living alone 'increases the risk of dropping into poverty in retirement'

New report finds living alone 'increases the risk of dropping into poverty in retirement'
New research from the ESRI suggests that people nearing retirement and living alone are worse off than couples, and may struggle to get by financially.  Picture: PA

People living alone are at risk of not having enough to get by in retirement, according to new research by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).

The think tank tapped data from the Irish Longitudinal Study of Ageing, or Tilda, to show that people approaching retirement who are living by themselves are relatively worse off than married or cohabitating couples and could drop below the poverty line.

The research suggests that targeted payment could work effectively in helping single people facing retirement, according to the ESRI researchers.                   

“Our results suggest that those living alone are at greater risk of having inadequate income in retirement than those who are married or cohabiting," said associate research professor Anne Nolan, who co-wrote the report.  

"Given these findings, the Living Alone Increase – an additional payment made to recipients of the state pension and certain other social welfare payments – could be a particularly well-targeted instrument for addressing concerns about income adequacy in retirement among this group," she said.   

The research showed that 9% of people coming up to retirement could be at risk of falling below tye poverty line, an improvement in recent years. 

“Our research shows that that at-risk-of-poverty in retirement may be overlooked by income adequacy targets that are based on previous earnings, which have been to the forefront of government policy in recent decades," said Barra Roantree, an economist at the ESRI.

"This suggests that policymakers should take a broader range of measures into account when considering who is at risk of having inadequate income in retirement,” he said. 

Having property or savings is significant for many people approaching retirement, the ESRI says. 

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