40% of Brits think they'll never retire and this is why

Find out how one couple retired in their 30s

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40% Brits believe they'll never be able to retire

Four in 10 working Britons do not think they will ever retire fully, a survey suggests.

The study by analysts Mintel found "little optimism" surrounding retirement, with more Britons who are not yet retired believing they will never fully stop working (39%) than those who do (35%).

See also: Could equity release be the answer to your retirement wishes?

See also: The cost of retirement revealed - do you have £420,500 to spare?

The poll found vast regional differences, with 45% of working consumers living in London believing they will never fully retire, compared with 32% of those working in Scotland.

However, one third (32%) of workers say they plan to retire as soon as they can claim the state pension, peaking at 42% of men aged 25 to 44.

Overall, 61% of workers think that their generation will not have as comfortable a retirement as previous ones, rising to 65% of those born between 1965 and 1979.

Rich Shepherd, senior financial services analyst at Mintel, said: "Too many people have a negative view of retirement, with many expecting their generation's retirement to be less comfortable than both those who came before and those to follow.

"Rising state pension ages and the struggle to save adequate funds for retirement make it easy for consumers to compare their prospective retirement with previous generations and see that they will have to work longer and receive a less comfortable pension.

"For some, the situation is negative enough to call the very concept of retirement into question."

While more than half (55%) of full-time employees and 42% of men report having any type of pension, this falls to 35% of part-time workers, 17% of self-employed individuals, and 31% of women.

Away from pensions, one fifth (20%) of non-retired consumers expect to use funds from their cash ISA to help fund retirement, while one third (33%) expect to use money from a savings account.

Mr Shepherd said: "While there is an awareness among consumers that they should contribute more, relatively few do anything about it.

"More could be done to help consumers bridge the gap between knowing that they should save more, wanting to save more, and actually saving more."

We retired in our 30s - this is how we did it

Jeremy and Winnie weren't born to riches. Quite the opposite. But by making a series of choices, and committing to them, they managed to save enough to live off for the rest of their lives.

For the past three years they've been travelling – in some luxury – started a family, and had the time of their lives with no need to ever work again to keep doing it indefinitely.

But the story began ten years earlier, with a very different holiday.

"I graduated on a Friday, moved myself over the weekend, and started work on a Monday. I did the same when I moved on to a new job," Jeremy told Mirror Money.

"Work work work was all I could think about. But slowly the beach, amazing seafood, and stiff tropical drinks worked their magic and I realised I had been doing it all wrong. THIS was what life was for."

And once that decision was made, everything else was just about the details and not wavering.

The question was what could you put up with if you knew you only had to do it for 10 years? A smaller flat? A longer commute? Cooking everything from scratch? If it got him closer to that beach, he did it.

"When I returned home, I sold my house, car, and motorcycle, moved into a shared house close to work, and started cycling to work and making meals at home. Saving became goal number one, and we worked up to saving more than 70% of our after-tax income.

"Now, instead of two weeks of vacation per year, our family has fifty two."

Humble beginnings

Jeremy was born to a single mother, who hadn't finished school when she had him - he was offered few legs up in life.

He graduated college in serious debt (he estimated in the top 5% most indebted graduates) – resorting to using a credit card just to afford noodles in his final year – then went straight to work to try and clear some of it.

Winnie spend more than two years in an orphanage as a child while her mother worked to get their lives back on track, her father had disappeared.

But between them the managed to save more than a million dollars – enough to live off forever.

How they did it

They didn't quite start from zero. By the time Jeremy had his beachside epiphany he'd already worked hard to clear student debts and had a house and some pension savings.

But from that moment on he stepped up a gear. Every single thing he could spare to save he did. Every expense that wasn't needed was removed. Tax was minimised too.

The couple were living on less than £2,000 a month and saving every other penny.

Even their honeymoon came in costing a grand total of £0.

But they reject that they made sacrifices. As Jeremy eloquently explains here - even the poorest renter has more luxury now than Queen Elizabeth I did – indoor plumbing, the internet, electric lights and fridges among the ways you're almost certainly richer then her.

"To date on our travels, we have been spending ~$79/day (£55) or about $2,400 a month (£1,650), with expectations for lower spending in the future."

Saving is only half the story

However, to build up enough money to live off, saving simply isn't enough. You need your money to work for you too.

"You can't just put fat stacks of cash under your mattress and expect to get rich," Jeremy explained here .

"Those fat stacks of cash are best exchanged for assets that produce an income that has the potential to grow over time."

Jeremy invested in the stock market – but that's only one way to make your money work for you.

Fundamentally what you need to do is make compound interest work for you, not against you.

You'd be amazed how little saving you need to make a million – as long as you start young enough and get a good return .

How to do it yourself

Here are Jeremy's top three tips to becoming financially independent yourself:

  1. Money can be used to buy stuff, experiences, or freedom. Choose freedom.

  2. Aim BIG. Big goals are motivating. Aim for a savings rate of 50% or more and you can be financially independent in a little more than a decade. 5-10% savings rates are for people who want to work until they die.

  3. Compound interest is the most powerful force in the universe, and it can work for you or against you. The best way to channel this power is via the stock market. Turn investing on auto-pilot via monthly salary deductions into low-cost index funds until your investment income pays all of your bills.

    Jeremy and Winnie blog about their travels, lives and saving money here , and you can also keep up with them on Facebook and Twitter

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