Income Security and a Good Retirement


The government’s Freedom and Choice changes to rules on Defined Contribution (DC) pension savings may see many individuals opting for a lower guaranteed income in retirement in favour of higher levels of cash savings and investments.

However, it would be reasonable to expect that level of secure income will have a key influence on people’s experience of retirement and their wellbeing, independent of their level of wealth.

To address a gap in evidence on this topic, the Strategic Society Centre undertook quantitative research analysing data from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing (ELSA) to explore the independent effect of level of secure income on a range of retirement outcomes:

  • Health and mental wellbeing
  • Giving money to family and charity
  • Financial security
  • Participation in leisure activities
  • Civic participation
  • Life satisfaction and quality

The research found that even when controlling for wealth, level of guaranteed income was significantly associated with multiple and varied outcomes in people’s lives, such as:

  • Spending habits
  • Sense of autonomy and control
  • Life satisfaction
  • Participation in community and civic society

Strategic Society Centre