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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

Pension saving not considered a financial priority by UK workers

Retirement saving is only the seventh most important financial concern for employees in the UK, with leisure and general household costs among the top priorities.

Saving for retirement not a main priority ©iStock
Saving for retirement not a main priority ©iStock

That is according to research by LifeSight, Willis Towers Watson’s UK DC master trust, finding that saving for retirement only becomes a priority when workers are in their 40s and 50s.

It was also found that the number of workers with financial worries has jumped from 46% in 2015 to 52%, while retirement confidence 15 years after finishing work has declined from 61% to 55% during that time.

“As the younger generations are set to be in work longer than their predecessors, starting to save from an early age is extremely beneficial,” LifeSight head of proposition development, David Bird, said.

“For millennials especially, short-term goals are much more important than long-term savings and so employers have the added difficulty of communicating the importance of retirement savings to them.”

The research involved a survey of 2,824 employees at medium and large private sector companies in the UK.

Despite not being a top priority, it was found that 67% of British workers consider retirement security important – an increase over the last two or three years.

In addition, the findings show that workplace pensions are the main way that 69% save for their retirement.

This comes after it was found that the UK government expects one million people to opt-out of workplace pension auto-enrolment in 2019, with a total of 13 million people forecast to be outside pension saving by then.

This will equate to 27.5% of members opting out of auto-enrolment by 2019, rising from 21.7% in 2018, and an estimated 10% today, with contribution hikes thought to be responsible.

“Our research clearly indicates that employees are looking for their employers to take the lead with their retirement savings, using their workplace pension as their main means of saving,” Bird continued.

“Even though this adds increased pressure on employers, making sure they are communicating effectively with their employees about the options available to them and the importance of long-term savings is a must.”

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