Since YouTube first began paying a share of its ad revenue back in 20071, the internet has provided a wealth of opportunities to make money. Now, content creators across a multitude of platforms - from Instagram to TikTok - are charging thousands for a single brand mention.
Becoming an influencer isn’t just an exclusive career path for the younger generations. In recent years - partly thanks to smartphones removing the need for expensive, complex filming and editing equipment - there’s been an influx of a new type of content creator: the Granfluencer.
Granfluencers - aka content creators over the age of 65 - are taking platforms once dominated by Millennials and Gen Zs by storm. They’re not simply doing it to entertain the young ‘uns, either, as they’re also making a significant amount of money.
We’ve analysed some of the world's top Granfluencers to calculate their annual earnings - based on estimated costs of a sponsored post - to reveal how much they’re earning compared to the average UK pension income2.
The five highest-earning TikTok influencers versus TikTok Granfluencers
The latest social platform to be embraced by Granfluencers is TikTok, which relies purely on video content. With 689m users3, brand deals on TikTok can bring creators a lot of additional income.
Most popular with a younger audience, the top five influencers on TikTok have an average age of 18, with an estimated £11m in combined earnings per year. One of Tik Tok’s biggest stars is 17-year-old Charli D'Amelio (@charlidamelio), who earns approximately £5.6m per year, with over 112m followers and an engagement rate (measured by likes, comments and shares) of 3.84%, compared to the average of 5.3%4.
In comparison, the top five Granfluencers on TikTok have an average age of 84, and earn an estimated £304,000 in combined earnings annually. While the difference in earnings between each generation is stark, it highlights Granfluencers as rising stars on this new platform.
TikTok Granfluencer earnings versus average pension income
Est. Annual Earnings£134,481
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income782%
Est. Annual Earnings£108,762
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income632%
Est. Annual Earnings£34,433
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income200%
Est. Annual Earnings£13,836
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income80%
Est. Annual Earnings£12,866
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income75%
TikTok’s highest-earning Granfluencer is 88-year-old Grandad Joe (@grandadJoe1933), who has over 4m followers, and an engagement rate of 0.97%. Famous for his fun, family-based content, Grandad Joe earns approximately £134,481 a year. This is almost eight times higher than the average UK pension income for a single person, which currently stands at just £17,200 per year. In a close second, 85-year-old Tik Tok Granfluencer, Charles Mallet (@charlesmallet), earned approximately £108,700 in 2020, just over six times higher than the average UK pension income.
The five highest-earning Instagram influencers versus Instagram Granfluencers
These generational differences are also seen on Instagram, with the top five Instagram influencers all in their early 30s. One of these influencers is Italian fashion icon, Chiara Ferragni (@chiaraferragni), who earns an estimated £6.5m each year, with over 23m followers and an engagement rate of 1.83%.
The highest-earning Granfluencer on Instagram is 91-year-old Helen, aka (@baddiewinkle), who has more than 3.5m followers, and an engagement rate of 3.78%. Due to her impressive fanbase, Helen receives an average of £6,790 per sponsored post. That means after just three brand deals, she earns just over the average annual UK pension.
Other high earners include 73-year-old Lili Hayes (@lili_hayes) and Linda Rodin (@lindaandwinks), also 73, who earn approximately £29,000 and £18,500 per year, respectively. For those who find an audience, TikTok is clearly the most lucrative platform for Granfluencers, despite lower levels of engagement than their Instagram equivalents. Lili Hayes appears in the top five Granfluencers on both platforms, and despite engagement being 4.5 times higher on Instagram, her earnings are £4,500 more on TikTok.
These top-performing Instagram Granfluencers cover a range of topics from fashion and comedy, to books and bodybuilding.
Instagram Granfluencer earnings versus average pension income
Helen Ruth Elam@baddiewinkle
Est. Annual Earnings£32,017
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income186%
Est. Annual Earnings£29,854
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income174%
Est. Annual Earnings£18,467
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income107%
& Geoffrey Walker
Est. Annual Earnings£16,958
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income99%
Est. Annual Earnings£5,720
Earnings as a % of avg. annual pension income33%
Save now for your retirement fund
A recent survey by Which?5 found that households enjoying a comfortable retirement spend an average of £26,000 per year, but need as much as £40,000 to afford a more “luxurious” retirement, with new cars, long-haul holidays, and the lifestyle that comes with it.
For those not looking to become an influencer anytime soon, but want to start planning ahead for a happy retirement, here are some tips on how to get started:
Calculate your budget. The average spend per household may be £26,000 per year, but everyone’s situation is different. Once you’ve calculated how much you’ll need per month, you’ll be in a better position to know what you need to save. Use the PensionBee pension calculator to find out how much you could receive annually in retirement.
Check if you’re eligible for the State Pension. Currently, all workers need to have paid National Insurance Contributions for at least 10 years to qualify for the State Pension. To receive the full State Pension (£179.60 per week in 2021/2022) you must have paid National Insurance for at least 35 years.
Start pension contributions early. The earlier you start paying into your pension, the longer it will have to grow. Thanks to compound interest, a small savings pot now can turn into a significant amount over a long period of time.
Combine your pensions into one easy-to-manage plan. This will make your savings easier to manage and help prevent you from losing track of your hard-earned money from previous jobs. With PensionBee, you’ll also only pay one fee, rather than several. See the PensionBee website for information on how to combine your pensions. Do remember that pensions can increase and decrease in value.