Millions 'rolling the dice' on retirement

Up to 40 million people could be “rolling the dice” on their retirement as they have not set savings targets for their pensions.

The claim, made by financial services group Sanlam, is based on three surveys carried out for the company by Atomik research.

The surveys, which questioned a representative sample of 1000 UK adults; a group of 500 adults with more than £100,000 in personal savings and investments excluding property and pensions; and 250 financial advisers, found that more than three quarters of UK adults (77 per cent) have not set savings targets for their retirement.

The research has also revealed that only 18 per cent of savers aged between 45 and 55 have set retirement goals — the equivalent of 8.2 million UK adults, according to Sanlam.

In addition, just one in five (18 per cent) of women have set a financial target for their retirement, compared to 29 per cent of men. Sanlam says that this means that some 22 million women do not have a financial target for their retirement.

The company’s research has also shown a lack of willingness to address problematic financial circumstances, with people being four times as likely to know their lottery numbers off by heart than their target pension pot figure.

Although an estimated 39 per cent of UK adults do not see setting targets as being important to their financial planning, Sanlam has found reasons for optimism, with two fifths of under-35s saying that they rate financial planning as very important, with 86 per cent of them having already set themselves financial targets for their retirement savings.

Over half (55 per cent) of under-35s are also confident of their ability to achieve the amount they need in their savings pot, while only 45 per cent of older savers share the same confidence.

Sanlam UK CEO, Jonathan Polin, said that the research shows that the country is about to see a “tidal wave” of people coming into retirement who will be ill-prepared and severely disappointed when faced with their retirement reality.

“The gap between what people think they need and what they actually require in later life is huge, and sometimes life-changing,” he said. “Despite years of industry effort to turn the tide, engagement with longer term savings, as highlighted in our report, is shockingly low.

“While we should certainly be encouraged that younger people are increasingly aware of the importance of knowing their savings targets, the stark figures around those in the squeezed middle should set alarm bells ringing. It is at this time of life that people should be clear about their retirement number and have a clear and achievable plan to get there.”

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