1. ITV Report

Old, Wealthy and on Benefits?: Tonight

Old, Wealthy and on Benefits?, ITV at 7.30pm Photo: ITV / Tonight

According to research, pensioners have never had it so good. They’re said to be better off than ever before with their average incomes forecast to race further ahead of working households’ in the coming years. And, it seems many are having a great time - retirees are spending around £37 billion a year on leisure, including meals out and holiday travel.

At the same time younger people are generally facing tough financial struggles with the prospect of a much poorer retirement when they hit pension age.

In a special report for the Tonight programme - on ITV at 7.30pm - pensioner Janet Street-Porter meets some of the old and wealthy but asks is this the end of the golden years for pensioners?

Katie Morley Credit: ITV / Tonight

As the projections stand it’ll be those generations currently in their forties who stand to be the first generation who will be worse off than their parents. Then people who are now in their twenties or thirties will be even worse off than people in their forties."

– Katie Morley, Daily Telegraph Money

Janet meets some ‘golden oldies’ from Eastbourne. Most of this group were able to climb on to the housing ladder early, when prices were relatively low. And now, like nearly half of all pensioners, they’ve paid off their mortgages completely - which helps when you fancy a bit of the good life.

Janet meeting the 'golden oldies' Credit: ITV / Tonight

Pensioners have never had it so good, on average. Of course there are plenty who are still not very well off but on average they’re better off now than they’ve ever been before.”

– Paul Johnson, Director - Institute for Fiscal Studies

The baby boomer pensioners are enjoying their mortgage free retirement but the future's not looking so rosy for the younger generation who will have to work into their seventies.

The Financial Times added fuel to the fire when they tweeted that the average 25 year-old should be saving around £800 per month to achieve the same level of pension that today’s old folk are getting. Some of the responses were NOT printable - £800 didn’t go down too well.

The Tonight programme filmed with Bristol couple Sarah-Jane Freni and Erlwin De Gans who have two young children and earn about £50,000 a year between them, but can’t afford to buy the house they’re currently renting.

Sarah and Erlwin Credit: ITV / Tonight

When we got the mortgage advice they told us we could get a mortgage value of about 50% of the property. It does feel sometimes like we have no hope of getting onto the ladder. There’s this reality that we’re slowly being priced out of not only the house but also the area which has gone up by quite a lot, so we would be pushed out of our community and the area that we love."

– Sarah-Jane Freni and Erlwin De Gans

Things appear to have got quite critical now and back in January a Parliamentary Select Committee of MPs was set up to look into generational fairness.

Dot Gibson Credit: ITV / Tonight

I think there’s a huge problem across the generations and I’ve not met an older person who doesn’t at some time in the course of a conversation say 'I don’t know what my grandchildren are going to do.' We have to do something to help them."

– Dot Gibson, General Secretary - National Pensioners Convention

The older generation have recognised the youngsters are struggling and are offering a helping hand. A growing trend of philanthropy is emerging among the old and wealthy. Janet Street-Porter spoke to multi-millionaire Marcelle Speller who has joined the ranks of Britain’s senior citizens willing to share their wealth.

Marcelle Speller visiting Grow 4 Good, a scheme in the South West benefitting from her generosity Credit: ITV / Tonight

Well I wasn't going to give all my money away. I decided how much I would need to be comfortable and not be a burden on other people. The biggest surprise is how much joy it gave me, how much fun I have had and how many amazing people I have met.

– Marcelle Speller OBE, Founder - Localgiving

From the 6th April, the new State Pension will come into force and all eyes are on next Wednesday’s budget to see how the Chancellor may change the rules around pension savings.

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