Kitchens are the new Lamborghinis

I remember telling LBC’s Nick Ferrari live on LBC, that pensions wouldn’t be used to buy Lamborghinis – wives would put a stop to that. I have been proved right.

I was right. If I was a kitchen salesman right now, I’d be abandoning hire purchase agreements and focusing on getting prospective clients to bring to the showroom their pension statements. 25% of the pot looks a lot better as a new kitchen than as a number on a piece of paper.

Tax- Free- Cash is “sexy cash” as it comes with no threat of a nasty surprise in your pay code or next year’s self-assessment.

It may be a raid on the pension fund but most people do not consider their workplace pension pot what they are going to retire on, it’s pin money –  the kitchen money.

A fifth of us use our tax-free cash on home renovations

Standard Life has found that the most common use of the tax-free pension lump sum among individuals over 55 is for financing home renovations. A slightly smaller percentage, 16 per cent, have purchased or plan to purchase a new car, while 13 per cent have used or will use the funds for short-term holidays and 7 per cent for long-term vacations or travel.

Around 14 per cent have or will use it to enhance their current lifestyle, whereas 15 per cent have used or will use it to pay off their mortgage, credit card debts, or loans.

Standard Life managing director for retail Dean Butler tells us (with a rictus smile)

“Everyone deserves to enjoy their tax-free cash, however, if you’re wondering how much of it to spend, or whether to spend any at all, remember that your pension savings need to stretch for the whole of your retirement, and so taking too much too early or at once could cause difficulties later. You don’t have to take all your tax-free cash at once if you don’t want to. Your tax-free pension lump sum is a real bonus, and it’s good to set some time aside before spending to work out how to get the most out of it.”

Rolling up the tax-free cash is itself tax-free and it can be used to pay a quarter of your drawdown tax-free. This and other sensible considerations are however of little value relative to the joy of a super-kitchen


Thanks to the Daily Mail for this vital information.

And the bill for all this? “The kitchen was between £40,000 and £50,000,” says Emma Douglas-Hamilton. A little apologetically, she adds: “That really is a huge amount of money.”

Well, yes and no. Certainly, if you are dragging yourself around the kitchen sales in out-of-town showrooms, £50,000 will seem an unimaginable fortune to spend on a place to put your toaster. But to a growing number of customers, £50,000 isn’t nearly enough to spend on a kitchen.

Robert Hughes, global sales director of kitchen-makers Clive Christian, says: “We are not so rarified that we won’t sell kitchens for £50,000 or £60,000. But it’s not unusual for people to spend anything from £500,000 to £700,000 to even £1million on a kitchen.”

Welcome to the super-kitchen – home of the £40,000 bespoke oven, the £15,000 fridge and where even the kitchen sink costs £3,000 (the taps are an extra £800).

Plus, of course, you’ll be wanting a huge plasma-screen television, computer controlled mood-lighting, a state-of-the-art music system and quite possibly an antique crystal chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

And, if you fancy it, a fridge with a built-in barcode reader that does away with the need for handwritten shopping lists (when you run out of a product you merely swipe the empty container and it’s automatically added to your housekeeper’s list).

For while the rest of us talk about recession and worry about house prices, mortgage repayments and job security, we get on with what they do best: spending.


You could buy a reasonable second hand Lamborghini for considerably less, but most sensible men know the value of a happy household.

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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