THE price of a comfortable retirement is £15,000 to £20,000 a year, according to new research published today.

But an online poll of 2,000 people, mostly pensioners, which looked at a range of factors like the ability to afford everyday items, also showed retirees felt greater satisfaction with their lives the more money they had until income hit £40,000 a year.

The survey undertaken in March by the National Employment Savings Trust(Nest), which runs the new automatic enrolment workplace pension scheme, showed that for every extra £5,000 pensioners had, their satisfaction rate rose 7%.

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Up to an income of £15,000 a year and 52% people said they were satisfied with life, up to £20,000 and the satisfaction rate rose to 67% of people, up to £30,000 it was 75% and up to £40,000 it hit 89%. Above £40,000 the number of people satisfied stayed roughly the same.

Asked specifically about if they felt comfortable financially, 43% of pensioners living on incomes between £15,000 and £20,000 said they did while only 24% of those earning less than £15,000 said they did.

The poll found that, overall, 65% of retirees were satisfied with life and that living with someone rather than alone increased their happiness.

Other findings showed:

l 85% of pensioners said having additional income to their state pension had made a difference to their quality of life, 56% said it had made a "considerable difference";

l 50% of pensioners without any additional income said they had wished they had saved more for their retirement and

l 58% of pensioners believed the most important quality of life factor in retirement was not money but good health while 38% said it was having more money.

Based on its findings, Nest calculated that the average worker likely to be automatically enrolled in the workplace scheme at the minimum levels should be able to save up enough over his or her working life to get most of the way to the £15,000 to £20,000 comfort threshold.