UK workers are the worst-prepared for their retirement in a global study and typically face 12 years of having to make "significant cuts" to their living standards after their savings run out.
People in this country are heading for spending most of their post-work life simply scraping by, as their savings will last around seven years but their average retirement is expected to stretch out for 19 years, according to the HSBC study.
The UK's 12-year retirement savings shortfall was the biggest chasm in the study, which covered 15 countries. The average retirement savings gap found across the research was two-thirds of that in the UK, at eight years.
While the UK has just over a third (37%) of the average retirement covered by savings, Malaysia has the most, with 71%, with the United States and India coming second at 67%. The UK was also beaten by countries including Egypt, China, France, Taiwan, Brazil, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Canada.
One in three (34%) of more than 1,000 people surveyed in the UK said that they are saving nothing at all for their retirement and two-thirds (63%) fear financial hardship, compared with just over half (57%) of people globally.
Of those not saving for retirement in the UK, three-fifths said that high living costs are holding them back, with 35-44-year-olds saying they felt particularly squeezed.
On average, UK men had just under £73,000 put by in retirement savings including pensions, while women, whose working lives are often interrupted by starting a family, had around £20,000 less at £53,000.
The Government is encouraging more people into saving for their later years to tackle the pension savings crisis, with landmark workplace pension reforms which will eventually see around 10 million people placed into schemes. The automatic enrolment programme began last autumn with larger firms.
Christine Foyster, head of wealth development at HSBC, said: "People are living longer, through tougher economic times, but their expectations about their standard of living in retirement remain unchanged.
"They are putting off the inevitable, which is the reality of significant cuts to their living standards in their twilight years, after their savings run out."
Seven retirement nightmares
Many face retirement savings gap
Figures from charity Age UK show that 29% of those over 60 feel uncertain or negative about their current financial situation - with millions facing poverty and hardship. Even though saving for retirement is not much fun, the message is therefore that having to rely on dwindling state benefits in retirement is even less so. To avoid ending up in this situation, adviser Hargreaves Lansdown recommends saving a proportion of your salary equal to half your age at the time of starting a pension. In other words, if you are 30 when you start a pension, you should put in 15% throughout your working life. If you start at 24, saving 12% of your salary a year should produce a similar return.
Many older couples rely on the pension income of one person - often the man. Should that person die first, the other person can therefore be left in a difficult position financially.
One way to prevent financial hardship for the surviving person is to take out a joint life annuity that will continue to pay out up to 67% of the original payments to the surviving partner should one of them die.
The disadvantage of this approach, however, is that the rate you receive will be lower. Again, the Pensions Advisory Service on 0845 601 2923 is a useful first port of call if you are unsure what to do.
Around 427,000 households in the over-70 age groups are either three months behind with a debt repayment or subject to some form of debt action such as insolvency, according to the Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS).
Its figures also show that those aged 60 or older who came to the CCCS for help last year owed an average of £22,330. Whether you are retired or not, the best way to tackle debt problems is head on.
Free counselling services from the likes of CCCS and Citizens Advice can help with budgeting and dealing with creditors.
Importantly, they can also conduct a welfare benefits check to make sure you are receiving the pension credit, housing and council tax benefits, attendance and disability living allowances you are entitled to.
The average UK pensioner household faces a £111,400 tax bill in retirement as increasing longevity means pensioners are living on average up to 19 years past the age of 65, according to figures from MetLife. And every year in retirement adds an extra £5,864 in direct and indirect taxes based on current tax rates to the costs for the average pensioner household. You can be forced to go bankrupt if you fail to pay your taxes, so it is vital to factor these costs into your retirement planning.It is also important to check that you are receiving all the benefits and tax breaks you are entitled to if you want to make the most of your retirement cash.
The cost of a room in a care home in many parts of the country is now over £30,000 a year, according to figures from Prestige Nursing and Care. So even if the prime minister announces a cap on care costs - last year the economist Andrew Dilnot called for a new system of funding which would mean that no one would pay more than £35,000 for lifetime care - families will still face huge accommodation costs. Ways to cut this cost include opting for home care rather than a care home. Jonathan Bruce, managing director of Prestige Nursing and Care, said: "For older people who may need care in the shorter term, home care is an option which allows people to maintain their independence for longer while living in their own home and should be included in the cap." However, the only other answer is to save more while you can.
Older Britons are often targeted by unscrupulous criminals - especially if they have a bit of money put away. For example, many over 50s were victims of the so-called courier scam that tricked into keying their pin numbers into their phones and handing their cards to "couriers" who visited their homes. It parted consumers from £1.5 million in under two years. Detective Chief Inspector Paul Barnard, head of the bank sponsored dedicated cheque and plastic crime unit (DCPCU), said: "Many of us feel confident that we can spot fraudsters, but this type of crime can be sophisticated and could happen to anyone." The same is true of boiler room scams that target wealthier Britons with money to invest, offering "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunities to snap up shares at bargain prices. Tactics to watch out for include cold calling, putting you under pressure to pay up or lose the opportunity for good, and claiming to have insider information that they are prepared to share with you.