Scots warned about retirement preparation

Robyn Hall

June 3, 2013

This makes Scotland one of the least prepared areas of the UK for pension provision with the number of those undersaving nearly three times the UK average (14%).

Nearly one in six Scots (13%) are saving nothing at all the study of 5,200 UK adults – including over 400 Scots – found.

Despite under half (48%) of Scots who could and should be preparing for retirement managing to save adequately, Scots’ aspirations for their retirement income have actually increased by nearly £2,000 per annum in the past two years.

The findings show that the average level of annual income Scots would feel comfortable living on at 70 years-old is now £24,500 (from £22,600 in 2011).

Based on this year’s average savings levels, an average person in Scotland retiring at 65 could receive under half the amount that they want.

The total pot for an average saver could be around £117,000 in today’s terms, which might provide an annual pension of just £3,700. With the addition of the state pension, this would generate a yearly income of approximately £11,200, falling drastically short of the £24,500 annual income Scots are looking for and equating to a total pension fund shortfall of about £420,000.

This year’s research found that we are entering retirement with an increasing number of credit commitments, including loans, mortgages and credit card debt.

Almost 5.3 million (24%) Britons aged over 50 have a mortgage and one in 10 (8%) have an unsecured loan.

Out of those who are already retired, a third (32%) are still paying off debts and excluding mortgage debt, the average amount owed is £5,682.

Ian Naismith, pensions expert at Scottish Widows, said: “Scottish savers are being hit with a triple-whammy of, firstly, continued economic uncertainty making it difficult to save for the long-term; secondly the age of first time buyers rising as we face troubles getting on the property ladder and thirdly an ageing population.

“These factors combined create a perfect storm for those heading towards retirement. Whilst we are becoming more aware of the need to save for retirement, we must do more to ensure that we have a comfortable old age.

“Scotland has the highest percentage of inadequate savers, yet expectations for income in retirement are still increasing.

“To meet these aspirations, an average saver would need to save £12,000 a year, or £1,000 per month.

“As a nation we must either prioritise saving for the future and prepare accordingly, or seriously adjust our outlook for old age.”

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