Brits Woefully Unprepared for Retirement

FUTURE PROOF: Nine out of 10 savers are falling far short of the required commitment to their pension in order to deliver a comfortable retirement

Emma Wall 30 April, 2014 | 5:21PM
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Are you saving enough for retirement? Despite pension regulation, auto-enrolment and the promise of a new State Pension, 93% of pension savers will fail to hit their retirement target according to the Aegon UK Readiness Report.

Just 7% of consumers saving for retirement currently have financial plans which will deliver their preferred pension income, leaving the vast majority of savers to fall into the pensions gap. Aegon’s findings confirm those from insurer Prudential, who earlier this month revealed thousands of pensioners will be living below the poverty line thanks to an inadequate state pension. Failure to save in a personal or work pension will leave thousands with less than £8,600 a year – the income considered the necessary to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living.

But Aegon’s report has gone one step further and disclosed that thousands of pension savers are not just unprepared for retirement, but also unable to change their fate. On average people will fall £23,000 per year short of their expected retirement income, the Readiness Report found – and only 3% of savers consider themselves knowledgeable enough to improve their financial fate.

Part of the problem is an over-reliance on a misunderstood State Pension, which many consumers believe to be more generous that it is.

“Relying on the state pension is an uncomfortable position to be in, and individuals must make all efforts to ensure they don’t end up in this situation,” urged Laith Khalaf, head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown.

The Prudential report revealed a fifth of women and 7% of men retiring this year have no pension savings at all and will be solely reliant on the state pension.

Inertia about existing investments also play a part, with more than 40% of workers with an existing workplace savings scheme revealing they have never reviewed its contents.

Sue Hayward, Personal Finance and Consumer Expert for Aego said that aside from the household budget pressures and a lack of surplus cash, too many people just do not know where to start when it comes to retirement planning.

“This is coupled with the fact that there’s a huge gap between what we ‘want’ in retirement, compared with how much we’re prepared to save. Most people want an annual income of £35,000, yet in reality they’re likely to get two thirds less; just £12,000,” she added.

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About Author

Emma Wall  is former Senior International Editor for Morningstar