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State Pension under attack! How I’m investing now to thrive in retirement

Older investors are having a rough time of it at the moment, it’s fair to say. The deck is already stacked against us as we reach State Pension age.

Interest rates have sunk to near-zero levels, leaving cash in our bank accounts earning basically nothing. Even the plumpest easy-access Cash ISA can only offer between 0.75% and 0.9%. Take a lengthy five-year fixed rate? The most you’ll get is a pathetic 1.21%.

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An 18 June report by the Centre for Aging Better says the pandemic “risks creating a ‘lost generation’ of pensioners” not only in poor health but financially insecure. Scary stuff.

State Pension triple lock scrapped?

Rumours are now flying around Westminster that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is about to scrap the triple-lock pension guarantee.

Introduced in 2011, this three-pronged policy ensures the State Pension will rise by a minimum of 2.5%, the rate of inflation, or average wage growth, whichever is highest.

But the furlough effect from Covid-19 means the government is facing a massive bill. One that will quickly become unaffordable in the face of rising care costs.

It was in the 2017 Conservative manifesto to end the 2.5% guarantee in 2020. But leaders have repeatedly backed away from the brink, knowing it is electoral poison. Before the December general election Boris wrote: “We will keep the triple lock, the winter fuel payment, the older person’s bus pass, and other pensioner benefits”.

That promise could all be for nought now.

What to do now

It’s a crying shame that so many people are facing retirement with only the State Pension to rely on.

While we might retire at 67, most will have at least another 15 years in us. Average British life expectancy keeps growing year on year and in 2020 reached 81.4. In another 10 years it will be 82.8, United Nations projections say.

Although work may be a distant memory, we need to keep earning income to keep us afloat. And that 15 years of share price or dividend growth will be intensely important.

Thankfully there are FTSE 100-focused options I think will boost your income far beyond the State Pension and provide the relief you seek.

Forget the State Pension

I’ve picked one investment with State Pension-beating potential for you to consider.

The City of London Investment Trust (LSE:CTY) is renowned in the investing world for its formidable record-setting dividend policy. It pays a 5.3% dividend once every three months. So a £50,000 investment here would pay out a healthy £2,560 a year, before any capital growth added on top.

Fund manager Job Curtis has a steely focus on businesses with exceptional balance sheets and strong cash generation. I think that’s key. And its recent merger with US investment manager KMI further diversifies its holdings to help reduce volatility.

The £1.5bn fund is large enough to itself be traded on the FTSE 250.

But its top holdings all come from FTSE 100 shares with the highest steady dividend yields. I’m talking about GlaxoSmithKline, British American Tobacco — which analysts suggest is ‘practically stealing’ at its current value — and defensive brands like Unilever and scientific publisher RELX

As I write this, the share price is 346p, a 1% premium to its net asset value. Historically the premium has been over 2.1% in the last 12 months. So CTY is relatively cheap right now.

Outpacing the State Pension will be all-important for a happy retirement. I think this is a sound option.

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Tom Rodgers has a position in GlaxoSmithKline. The Motley Fool UK owns shares of and has recommended GlaxoSmithKline and Unilever. The Motley Fool UK has recommended RELX. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.