A nationwide study has found that self-employed workers are ten times more likely to be without a private pension in the UK than people in traditional employment.
The research by life insurance firm Prudential shows that 43% of the self-employed have no pension, compared to just 4% of the rest of the workforce.
A key reason for this is more than a third saying they cannot afford to save for retirement, with a similar number admitting they will instead have to rely on the state pension.
Prudential retirement income expert, Kirsty Anderson, said it was tougher for the self-employed because they have no one to organise a pension, and no employer to contribute.
"On top of that, self-employed workers often don't have a regular income, so many will focus on setting aside money as a safety net if they cannot work," she continued.
"No matter what your employment status, having money to fund your retirement is essential as the state pension is unlikely to be enough to fund a comfortable retirement."
It was found that the self-employed are more focused on day-to-day emergencies than long-term retirement, with 67% putting aside money as a safety net, compared with the 57% in employment.
The research also shows that just one-tenth see a financial adviser regularly, despite potentially having more complex requirements than the rest of the workforce.
Moreover, there appears to be an education gap among the self-employed, with a quarter worrying they do not know enough about money, and one-fifth not taking pension saving seriously.
This comes after insurance firm Drewberry warned that self-employed workers are fast becoming a “financial underclass”, with almost half having less than £1000 in cash savings.
"Extending auto-enrolment to this group looks like a life-line," Drewberry director, Tom Conner, said. "However, it could be a decade before contributions reach worthwhile levels."
"In the meantime, the self-employed will be left to fend for themselves when it comes to pensions, and this hasn't worked out well so far."
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