1.3m Britons could face 'mid-life savings crisis', survey finds


More than a million Britons are facing a "mid-life savings crisis" as they approach the age of 40 with nothing saved for retirement, research suggests.

One in three (33%) 35 to 39-year-olds have no pension cash saved, despite approaching the mid-point of their working lives, a survey for pension provider Zurich found.

The figure equates to 1.3 million Britons in the age group not having saved for their later years if the findings were projected across the country.

Meanwhile, 37% of 25 to 34-year-olds who took part in the survey by YouGov also said they are not saving into a pension - equating to about 3.2 million people.

The Government's landmark scheme to automatically place people into workplace pensions is continuing to roll out, having started in 2012.

The policy was introduced to address under-saving with fears that many people were not putting aside enough for retirement.

So far, more than six million people have been signed up, but concerns have been raised that the amounts being set aside will not be enough to give people the living standards they are likely to want in retirement.

Previous research into auto-enrolment has found that workplace pensions take-up has been particularly strong among younger workers.

Alistair Wilson, Zurich's head of retail platform strategy, said: "Rising rents and house prices, combined with years of low wage growth, have made it harder than ever for people to save.

"With the cost of living rising, some people appear to be putting off saving into a pension, or not saving at all. This is leaving a third of Britons in their late 30s facing a mid-life savings crisis. By delaying saving into a pension, a substantial number of Britons could end up with an inadequate income in retirement."

Mr Wilson continued: "Delaying saving for a few years can wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the future value of your pot."

So far, around nine in 10 people are staying in their pension after being auto-enrolled. Mr Wilson said those deciding to opt out of auto-enrolment would miss out on "free money" which could go into their retirement savings pot from employer contributions and tax relief.

More than 1,000 people aged up to 39 took part in the survey for Zurich.

Here are some tips from Zurich for boosting your pension:

:: Start saving early. Money invested in a pension benefits from compound interest - interest added on interest - which can help your pot to grow over time.

:: Take advantage of tax relief. Any money you pay into your pension receives a rebate from the Government at the same rate as you pay income tax. This means it costs a basic rate taxpayer 80p to put £1 into their pension and a higher rate taxpayer 60p.

:: Maximise employer contributions. Some employers will match your pension contribution, which can turbo charge your savings. 

:: Consolidate your pots. You may already have a few pots from previous jobs. By consolidating them into one pension, you can potentially make it cheaper.

:: Plan ahead. Try to work out how much you need to save each month to achieve your ideal retirement. Some providers offer pension calculators to help you get your savings on track.