Workers want more help to plan for their retirement

Jul 26 2006 by Nic Paton Print This Article

More than half of British workers believe having a company pension scheme is the best way to save for retirement, but just four out of 10 feel their employer is doing enough to help them prepare financially for life after work.

A study by HR consultancy Mercer has also found that a third of workers with defined contribution pension schemes believe they will have to rely on the proceeds from selling their house as a large part of their retirement income.

Yet, while a minority of people will be able to move to a smaller property and use the extra capital to buy a substantial annuity, selling a home to fund retirement will not be a viable solution for most, Mercer has warned. The average UK house now costs 173,000, which would buy an annuity worth about 6,700 a year after tax, it calculated.

But with average annual rental costs at 6,800, many people could find themselves in a "negative net retirement income" situation, warned Mercer.

The same analysis showed that someone choosing to downsize from an average semi-detached home to an average terraced house would be able to buy an annuity of just 1,100 a year after tax.

Dr Deborah Cooper at Mercer said that, for most employees, contributing to a company-sponsored pension scheme was probably still the most efficient way to save for retirement. But she added: "Companies are well placed to help employees understand how much they need to save for retirement, and how to maximise their savings.

"A lot of people tend to doze off when the subject turns to pensions, but they could have a rude awakening when they reach retirement."

She also warned: "If people fail to save enough now and rely on selling their homes to provide an income, they could be in for a nasty shock at retirement."