Two in five 46-55s are in the dark about their pension savings.
- Two in five (40%) employed 46 to 55-year-olds do not know how much they have saved for retirement.
- Half (49%) of UK employees aged 22 to 65 believe they need to be saving more as average annual pension savings per active saver sink to record low.
- The emotion most commonly associated with people’s savings is worry (18%), with women most likely to agree (23%).
Two in five (40%) working adults aged 46-55 are approaching retirement without knowing how much they have saved in their pensions, despite closing in on the age they can access their pension savings for the first time, according to Aviva’s ‘Savers vs Spenders’ report1.
The study amongst employees aged 22 to 65 – the age criteria currently used for automatic enrolment pension schemes – reveals nearly a third (31%) admit to not knowing how much they have saved in their pensions. Surprisingly, this peaks at 40% for 46 to 55s, compared to just 24% of employees aged 22 to 30.
To the best of your knowledge, how much do you have saved in your pensions?
|All ages|| |
|I don’t know||31%||24%||27%||40%||34%|
Not knowing how much you have saved in your pension pots is like approaching retirement with a blindfold on. For those in their 40s and 50s, understanding retirement savings is especially critical. They can be accessed at age 55, at which point some big decisions might need to be made. Without knowing how much you have saved it’s difficult to put a plan in place that could improve your retirement.
The ‘Savers vs Spenders' league table
The report also looked at whether people identify themselves as a saver or a spender and where they live. This showed that Leeds has the highest proportion of savers while London has the highest proportion of spenders.
The need to save more
Figures released earlier this year by the Department for Work and Pensions reveal workplace pension participation is at an all-time high, reaching 84% of eligible employees in 2017, up from 77% a year earlier2.
However, the average amount being saved by each active saver is at a record low of £5,1103 per year (2017) and this figure may be inflated by higher earners saving a greater proportion of their salary. Aviva’s research also shows that almost half (49%) of working adults aged 22 to 65 believe they need to be saving more.
What are your thoughts on the size of your savings (pension and otherwise)?
I think I need to save more
I believe I am saving enough
I think I can afford to save less
I don’t know
I do not have any savings
The reality of needing to save more is not lost on those who are already at their potential retirement age, with 40% of employees aged 56 to 65 agreeing they need to do so – though a similar proportion (38%) say they are saving enough. Workers aged 31 to 45 are the most keenly aware of the need to increase their savings (52%).
Pensions pride or savings stress?
Aviva’s research reveals an even split between those feeling positive and those feeling negative about their savings – 42% feel secure, confident, proud or excited while 41% feel worried, disappointed, stressed, regretful or panicked.
The most common emotion associated with people’s current savings levels is negative, with almost one in five (18%) describing themselves as ‘worried’. However, this is followed by the more positive ‘secure’ (15%) and ‘confident’ (14%).
Some of the responses do however highlight stark differences between men and women. Almost a quarter (23%) of women say they feel worried about their level of savings compared to just 13% of men. Similarly, while 18% of men describe themselves as confident about their savings, just 10% of women say the same.
Alistair McQueen commented: “Although almost half the population have admitted that they don’t think they are saving enough, the fact they are aware is clearly a positive. This needs to be acted upon, but it can be difficult when people are already under financial pressure.
“It’s clear there are some fears and insecurities around savings and having two in five people either worried or stressed about their finances is a concerning statistic.
"Auto-enrolment has been a fantastic tool in getting almost 10 million more people saving. But even when minimum contributions reach 8% in 2019, that will still be too low for most people. That’s why we have called for minimum contributions to be raised to 12.5% by 2028.
“Retirement is very much in the control of the individual. The money saved now will be in their hands in the future, so now is the time to start making active choices which will help to achieve those retirement dreams.”
12,010 employed adults aged 22-65 were surveyed by Censuswide on behalf of Aviva in Q1 2018.
2DWP, Workplace pension participation and saving trends: 2007 to 2017: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/workplace-pension-participation-and-saving-trends-2007-to-2017
3DWP, Workplace pension participation and saving trends, 2007 to 2017, table 2.1:
This report contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.
0117 928 5843
020 7457 2020
Notes to editors:
- For information on how Aviva is helping our people, customers and communities impacted by COVID-19 visit: www.aviva.com/covid-19-our-response/
- We exist to be with people when it really matters, throughout their lives – to help them make the most of life. We have been taking care of people for more than 320 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’.
- In 2020, we paid £30.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
- Aviva is invested in our people, our customers, our communities and our planet. In 2021, we announced our plan to become a Net Zero carbon emissions company by 2040, the most demanding target of any major insurance company in the world. This plan means Net Zero carbon emissions from our investments by 2040; setting out a clear pathway to get there with a cut of 25% in the carbon intensity of our investments by 2025 and of 60% by 2030; and Net Zero carbon emissions from our own operations and supply chain by 2030. Aviva has been leading this agenda for decades: Aviva was the first international insurer to go operationally carbon neutral in 2006 and we are champions of renewable energy and energy storage at our offices, allowing us to achieve our 2030 carbon reduction target (70% reduction on 2010 levels) 10 years early. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition at www.aviva.com/sustainability.
- Aviva is a Living Wage and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at www.aviva.com/social-purpose
- We are focused on the UK, Ireland and Canada where we have leading market positions and significant potential. We will invest for growth in these markets. We will also transform our performance and improve our efficiency. Our transformation will be underpinned by managing our balance sheet prudently, reducing debt and increasing our financial resilience.
- Total group assets under management at Aviva group are £535 billion and our Solvency II capital surplus is £13.0 billion (FY20). Our shares are listed on the London Stock Exchange and we are a member of the FTSE 100 index.
- For more details on what we do, our business and how we help our customers, visit www.aviva.com/about-us
- The Aviva newsroom at www.aviva.com/newsroom includes links to our spokespeople images, podcasts, research reports and our news release archive. Sign up to get the latest news from Aviva by email.
- You can follow us on:
- For the latest corporate films from around our business, subscribe to our YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/aviva