How some ‘granfluencers’ are earning more than the average UK pension income

New research shows that the average pension income is below the level needed for a comfortable retirement. Some pensioners are doing something about it.

The content of this article was relevant at the time of publishing. Circumstances change continuously and caution should therefore be exercised when relying upon any content contained within this article.

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Have you ever wondered what life on a retirement pension will be like? New research by PensionBee shows that the average pension income in the UK is around £17,200. This is a lot less than is needed for a comfortable retirement.

It seems that some retirees are doing something about it by venturing onto social media as influencers – or ‘granfluencers’.

Pension income needed to be comfortable

According to Which? for a relatively comfortable retirement, the magic number is £26,000. The figure rises to £40,000 for a more luxurious time that includes long-distance holidays and maybe a new car every few years. At the lower end of the scale, you’d need at least £18,000 to cover all basic expenses once you retire.


How granfluencers are supplementing their pension

For those in retirement, affording a good standard of living sometimes means continuing to work well into their 70s rather than relying only on their pension. Over the past few years, there’s been an increase in seniors looking at social media as a way to earn money. And today, there’s a large number of ‘granfluencers’ taking over content creation everywhere from Instagram to Tik Tok.

What granfluencers are earning

According to PensionBee’s research, there’s a boom of granfluencers taking over the internet. And some are earning more money on social media than the average pension could get them. The highest-earning 65+ influencers are on TikTok and Instagram.

For example, with 4.3 million followers, 88-year-old Joe Allington (@grandadjoe) is the biggest granfluencer on TikTok. PensionBee estimates he makes £134,000 annually through sponsored posts and earns almost 800% of the average pension. Not far behind is Charles Mallet, with 4.7 million followers and estimated annual earnings of almost £109,000.

Instagram has some of the most impressive young influencers, with many earning over £6 million a year. In comparison, granfluencers are a little behind on this platform, though the numbers are still impressive.

For example, 91-year-old Helen Ruth Elam (@baddiewinkle) has estimated annual earnings of £32,017. That’s 186% of the average annual pension income in the UK. At 73 years old, Lili Hayes (@lili_hayes) is not doing bad either. With just over half a million followers, she’s making around £29,854 a year. 


Understanding your retirement income

To understand how comfortably you will live after retirement, start by listing all the forms of income you’ll have once you reach retirement age. This will include your State Pension, any private pensions you’ve paid into, savings, rental properties, and income from investments.

If the numbers don’t seem promising, it might be a good idea to look for ways to increase your retirement savings now. Getting a second job, cutting down expenses or starting a private pension are good steps that can help down the line.

Setting up a budget can also help, especially if you’re overspending and would make more sense to invest that money. Investing an extra £200 a month for 15 years (at a growth rate of 5%) could result in an additional £53,180. Find ways to reduce your cost of living so you can funnel any extra money towards investing in your future. 

If you have debts, it might also make sense to focus on paying them off before retirement. Large debts can eat a significant portion of your pension and leave you with a lot less to spend on other things. 

Should you invest, the value of your investment may rise or fall and your capital is at risk. Before investing, your individual circumstances should be considered so you should consider taking independent financial advice.

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