ONS figures reveal increase in proportional pension wealth

Pension wealth has risen to 42 per cent of people’s total wealth, up from 34 per cent 10 years ago, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) latest figures have revealed.

Its ONS Wealth and Assets survey found that the proportion of people with active private pensions has risen from 43 per cent to 53 per cent since July 2010.

Total private pension wealth increased from £3.6trn to £6.1trn between April 2016 and March 2018.

However, the average amount in active defined contribution workplace pensions has fallen from £11,600 in 2010 to £3,300 in 2018.

Commenting on the findings, Moneyhub CEO, Samantha Seaton, said: “While it’s encouraging to see the number of individuals saving into a pension increasing, we shouldn’t be popping the champagne just yet. There is still much more to be done to boost retirement savings across the board.

“Pensions are currently too complex, and many people remain uncertain as to how much they need to save in order to afford a comfortable retirement.

“While the introduction of auto-enrolment meant more people are saving into a pension, these contributions alone are unlikely to be enough to provide a good standard of living in the future.”

The ONS’s statistics found that men below state pension age are more likely to have an active pension pot than women (56 per cent compared to 51 per cent).

Men also have more pension wealth than women on average, with £25,300 for the average man compared to £20,000 for the average woman.

For people above the age of 65, the average male pension in payment is double that of the average women.

Hargreaves Lansdown senior analyst, Nathan Long, stated: "The gulf between men and women’s pensions shows an interesting nuance with values being far closer between those building up their pension than those who are receiving their pension.

“This perhaps shows why Labour have included a policy of hefty compensation for women who have had their state pension pushed back in their manifesto.”

Royal London pension specialist, Helen Morrissey, added: “Today’s data shows total private pension wealth soaring from £3.6trn to £6.1trn in the last decade.

“However, scratch below the surface and you will see there is still much work to do to address the yawning chasm of gender inequality with more men continuing to save into a pension and the median amount saved being higher.

“Many women face unique challenges in saving for their retirement as they spend time out of the workforce caring for children and often only return to work on a part-time basis.”

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