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Family lives off £3 a day while appearing on Channel 5 documentary

PUBLISHED: 13:30 04 December 2019 | UPDATED: 15:57 04 December 2019

From left, finance expert Felicity Hannah, Aaron Ling, Rachel Newton and presenter Michael Buerk. Picture: ITN Productions.

From left, finance expert Felicity Hannah, Aaron Ling, Rachel Newton and presenter Michael Buerk. Picture: ITN Productions.

ITN Productions

As a working couple in their mid-40s with two children, Rachel Newton and partner Aaron Ling had never really given much thought to their pensions.

Journalist Michael Buerk will present the show on Channel 5. Picture: ITN Productions.Journalist Michael Buerk will present the show on Channel 5. Picture: ITN Productions.

That was until they took part in an experiment for new Channel 5 documentary Britain's Great Pension Crisis, where for a week they lived on what they are currently projected to receive in their retirement.

Miss Newton, 47, said it was "a real shock" when she and Mr Ling, 43, discovered they are on track to have just £24 per week - roughly £3 per day - to spend on food once they stop working, putting their plans to retire to France in jeopardy.

And now they are using their experience to warn others to keep tabs on their pension, no matter how far away retirement may seem.

Miss Newton said: "Many people will want to retire at 55, but if they realised what they are actually going to get then they might be more worried about retiring at 75, or their standard of living would be minimal.

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"We're getting to an age where we need to talk about pensions, but never got around to it because life is so busy. You think 'it's another 20-odd years away and I don't need to worry about it', but you do - people seriously need to take a look at it."

The couple live in Coltishall with 17-year-old son Travis and were filmed for a week living on a vastly reduced budget - they usually spend around £80 per week on food.

Miss Newton said: "The food was the hardest. We just hardly had any money for a food shop, and it made us realise that you don't really appreciate what you have until you don't. At least we lost weight."

But despite the difficulty of the challenge, Miss Newton said she is delighted they took part as it gave their family a wake-up call.

She said: "I wouldn't do it again because it was really hard, but as a family we really pulled together. The hardest week I think I've ever had, but it was very interesting and I'm glad we did it."

Britain's Great Pension Crisis airs on Channel 5 at 9.15pm on Wednesday, December 4.

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