A study carried out by Scottish Widows has looked at how some of the most famous characters in TV soap's manage their money.
According to the results, Eastenders' Dot Branning is likely to be struggling along on a state pensions, whilst Coronation Street's Audrey Roberts is enjoying a comfortable retirement.
Audrey Roberts is the 'best' example of all 'soaplands' pensioners, say Scottish Widows, with a predicted pension pot of around £100,000, thanks to many steady years of hard work and saving. According to the research, she is the most realistically portrayed pensioner.
Dot Branning is at the extreme opposite end of the scale, along with Emmerdale's Zak Dingle. Dot, who has worked all her life, doesn't appear to have much money and was actually taken to court in 2013 for failing to pay her rent. It's estimated that she's surviving on around £151 per week, which accounts for the basic state pension, and associated pension credit.
In the real world, she would not be able to afford living in her home in Albert Square, which is estimated to be worth around £1.3m, with the monthly rent being about £2,600
Zak Dingle is unlikely to have much more than Dot, with the chances of him having savings or investments negligible, according to the report.
The Most Savvy Pensioners in Soap
Audrey Robert's grandson Nick Tilsley is said to be soap's most financially savvy character overall.
The owners of Nick's Bistro is predicted to have investments, pensions and savings. In his mid-thirties, he could be putting away up to £10,000 a year in his pension pot.
This would give him a very healthy annual pension income of £23,000 when he retires, which is well ahead of real life people in the same age group, who's estimated pension pot is about £15,000 on average.
“For a run-down area of Salford, Weatherfield certainly seems to house some financially-savvy residents,” says soap expert and writer Mark Peters. “Audrey Roberts, Nick Tilsley and Roy Cropper all have their own successful businesses and in Nick’s case, he’s a totally self-made man – better at making money than mum Gail is at choosing husbands.”
Among other soap entrepreneurs, many won’t have pension savings – much like the 6.2 million Brits who are making no provision for their retirement.
Time to start saving for your pension?
“What came through most strongly in the analysis of these soaps is the importance of planning ahead and beginning to save for a pension as early as possible,” says Jackie Leiper, retirement expert at Scottish Widows.
Recent changes in the law have meant that all employers are obliged to offer a workplace pension for their employees, and the auto opt-in method will mean that some may now have pensions without even realising it. But there's always more you can do to increase your quality of life after you retire. Every pound you pay in to your pension pot counts, and will grow thanks to compound interest and government top-ups. For more information on pensions and budgeting take a look at our dedicated guides.