Pensions - Articles - Pension pots of the most iconic fictional TV characters


New research from leading online pension provider, PensionBee, uncovers the pension pots of some of Britain’s most iconic on-screen TV characters. From analysing their age, occupation and salary, PensionBee considers how much these pensions might be worth, and how long they might last in the real world.

 PensionBee’s research shows that Private Therapist, Dr David Ferguson, from Netflix’s hit psychological thriller, Behind Her Eyes, would likely retire with the largest pension pot, at £209,594 (including State Pension). If Dr Ferguson was to retire at the UK national average age of 66, this pension pot would likely see him through to his 98th birthday.

 Much like Dr Ferguson taking up work in the private sector, Private Detective, Sherlock Holmes, from the BBC’s crime drama series, Sherlock, follows with the second-largest pension pot estimated at £189,492. Played by Benedict Cumberbatch, his fictional character has an approximate salary of £41,294, and would likely be contributing around £275 a month under a workplace pension scheme.

 Loan Manager, Mark Corrigan, from the long-running Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show, is the youngest TV character to rank within the top ten. With the fourth largest pension pot, Corrigan earns a salary of almost £29,000 at age 27. Corrigan’s estimated pension pot of £180,882 at the average retirement age of 66, would likely last him through to his 92nd birthday.

 Nine out of the ten largest pension pots are from Millennial TV characters (24-40 year olds). This could perhaps be explained by the introduction of Auto-Enrolment, resulting in this age bracket being part of their workplace pension for a longer period than their counterparts. This also comes as no surprise as recent PensionBee research that revealed Millennials are more clued up about their pension savings than the older generation. Just over a quarter (26%) of Millennials didn’t know how much they’ve saved towards retirement, compared to over a third (34%) of Gen Xs (41-54 year olds).

 However, the highest on-screen earners might not necessarily be the most wealthy in retirement. Relationship Manager, Jen Barber, from The I.T Crowd, has the highest salary at £42,500 but potentially only the fifth-highest pension pot at £160,455 – almost £50,000 lower than Dr Ferguson’s. Barber’s overall pension pot would likely be lower than her counterpart because at 43 her character has fewer years left to work and grow her pension savings, compared to Dr Ferguson who is 30. PensionBee research also revealed that 18-54 year old women have on average 36.6% fewer retirement savings than men. With a smaller overall pension pot, this means Barber’s pension could last ten years less than Dr Ferguson’s.

 Other characters with large pension savings include Estate Agent, Jonny Goodman (Friday Night Dinner), Cinema Attendant, Jessie Olson (Starstruck), and Language Coach, Aine (This Way Up).

 The characters that would likely need to work past the average retirement age (see table two)

 However, not all our TV favourites could be on track for a secure retirement. According to PensionBee’s analysis, half of the TV characters could face their pensions not lasting past the age of 82 (the average life expectancy in the UK), if they were to retire at 66.

 The average single pensioner receives an annual income of £17,200 from their pension and just under £10,000 a year from a full State Pension. To reach this threshold, Arcade Supervisor, Nessa, from the popular comedy series Gavin and Stacey, would likely need to work an additional five years beyond the average retirement age.

 Personal Assistant, Sue Brockman, from Outnumbered, would likely need to work an additional four years, while Fork Lift Truck Driver. Lance Stater, of Detectorists, would likely need to work an additional three years. Surprisingly, Therapist, Dr Jean Milburn, would also likely need to work an additional year despite earning a salary of £36,533, which is £7,000 more than the average UK salary.

 While the vast majority of characters with large pension pots were Millennials, over half (60%) of characters who would likely need to work past the average retirement age were Gen Xs. Of the characters closest to retirement age, 43-year-old Events Planner, Julie Johnston (Motherland) and 45-year-old Head Football Coach, Ted Lasso (Ted Lasso) amongst many others, would likely need to work past the age of 66, for their pension to last past the average life expectancy age of 82.

 Romi Savova, CEO at PensionBee, commented: “British TV has created some of the most iconic and memorable characters in history, but we rarely see them transition from working life to retirement. Our latest research highlights the disparity in pension pot sizes across the UK and how these can influence the age at which we retire. By predicting the pension sizes of some of Britain’s most loved TV characters, we hope to illustrate the importance of early planning and making regular pension contributions - regardless of a savers’ age, gender or occupation - to ensure a robust pension pot for later life.” 

 The top five TV characters with the largest pension pots
 
  

 The top three characters that would likely need to work past the average retirement age
 

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