Four out of ten admit pension shortfall

2004

Four out of ten people think they will be short of money in retirement, according to a new consumer confidence survey, with women particularly afraid of what retirement will bring.

Research by the Nationwide Building Society found that four out of ten said that they did not have enough pension savings, while a further 13 per cent admitted they did not know whether they had sufficient savings.

Two-thirds of those who thought they would not have enough money put by to retire were women, the survey found.

Alex Bannister, the chief economist at Nationwide, said pensions were a "significant concern" for many people, particularly those in their thirties and early forties.

Four out of ten of those expecting to experience financial hardship in retirement were aged 30 to 44, the Nationwide said.

The survey is also the latest to revel the lack of public confidence in the pensions and industry and deep distrust of equity markets. One in three of those surveyed said that they would consider investing in the buy-to-let market or property development as an alternative way to boost their income – this despite the fact that only four out of ten expect house prices to continue to rise.

Alex Bannister said the findings were a source of major concern.

"There is a great deal of uncertainty and concern within the pension market," he said.

"Particularly concerning is the proportion of people who believe they will not have enough pension savings to retire. There is a big chunk who are worried and that big chunk believe property is the solution."

"Many are ignoring the need for a more formal retirement savings vehicle, which presents the Government with a major issue that needs to be addressed urgently.".

The Nationwide also echoed the now almost universally-held belief that many people on low incomes cannot afford to save at all and are put off from doing so by means-tested benefits available in retirement.

Last month, global economic think-tank the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development warned that "the current two-tier state pension system and the array of means-tested benefits… may have adverse effects on incentives to work and save".

The Nationwide added that "there is a growing culture in the UK of living for today and letting tomorrow take care of itself."

In September, analysts Datamonitor calculated that the average Briton needs to contribute an additional £51,000 into their private pension to ensure a comfortable standard of living in retirement.

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