Many face retirement savings gap

Empty pocketUK 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."

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