Retirement perks on the State pension?

Couple Sitting on Dock Around half of UK adults use - or plan to use - the basic state pension to fund post-retirement leisure activities, according to new research from Nationwide Building Society.

Experiences they expect to pay for using the basic state pension of up to £110.15 per week include cruising the world and taking a trip to see the Northern Lights.

But these glamorous plans seem at odds with Nationwide's findings that more than a quarter of all UK adults, and a massive one in four 45 to 54-year-olds, have not started planning for retirement yet.

A seven-night Northern Lights break to Lapland - including activities such as a husky safari - costs around £1,000 per person half board.

So someone hoping to fund it purely using the basic state pension would have to save up their entire pension for a minimum of nine weeks, which would be impossible unless they had another source of income to live on.

Rob Angus, Nationwide's head of protection & investments, said: "Our research suggests a misguided view that the basic state pension will be sufficient to fund life in retirement.

"If that is their only source of income, retired people are unlikely to have enough to achieve the lifestyle that they hope for."

Not everyone relies solely on the State pension in retirement of course.

Nationwide's figures also reveal that 44% of those who took part in the research use or plan to fund their post-retirement leisure activities using money held in a current account or savings account, and just under a third have earmarked the cash lump sum available from their private pensions for this purpose.

About a quarter will also use an annuity, while 17% expect to release equity from or rent out a property, 15% are counting on an inheritance and 22% think working part-time will allow them to live it up in retirement.

Angus, however, is urging people of working age to get real about retirement. "One in five people plan to continue working during retirement, but as most people are unlikely to work forever, they cannot generate income for themselves forever," he said.

"This is why planning and saving for retirement is vital. In fact, it is one of the most important financial steps people will ever make, which is why it is concerning that around one quarter of UK adults have not started yet."