Almost half of people don't pay enough into pension

Almost half of people are on track for a disappointing retirement as they are failing to save enough into a pension, a report indicated today.

Around 49% of people are not setting aside enough for when they stop work, 20% of whom are failing to save anything at all, according to life insurer Scottish Widows.

The group said the number of people who were not saving enough for their retirement had remained consistently low for the past five years, during which time the proportion of people making inadequate provisions has ranged from 46% to 52%.

The study, which looked at people aged between 30 and state pension age who earned more than £10,000 a year, found that only 51% of people were paying enough into a pension each month to give them a comfortable retirement.

But the figure dropped to just 25% of workers, once people who were members of final salary pension schemes were excluded.

People who are not members of final salary pension schemes are saving an average of just 9% of their income into a pension each month, only three-quarters of the 12% of pay that Scottish Widows estimates people need to set aside in order to have a comfortable retirement.

Overall, the group estimated that people should save an extra £58 a month on average in order to have enough money during retirement.

The high level of people who are not saving enough comes despite the fact that 73% of those questioned said they recognised the need to take personal responsibility for ensuring they had sufficient income to live off when they gave up work.

Ian Naismith, head of pensions market development at Scottish Widows, said: "This year's report clearly illustrates the stark difficulty we face in helping people to recognise the urgent need to take personal responsibility for their future.

"We need a step-change to overcome this ingrained inertia and help people prepare for their retirement."

The average age at which people would like to retire remained unchanged from 2010 at 61 years and eight months.

Only one in five people said they would be happy to work until they were 70, with people typically saying they would want to retire at 66 and six months at the latest.

People would like to have an average annual retirement income of £24,300, a significant drop from the £27,900 they hoped to have in 2009.

In a bid to encourage people to save more the Government is introducing auto-enrolment from October 2012.

But 11% of people said they would opt out of a scheme if they were automatically enrolled into it, and the average person said they would only be prepared to pay in £37.50 a month, which for the majority of workers is likely to be significantly below the 4% of their pay that they will have to contribute.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman said: "We know that people aren't saving enough for retirement and this is exactly why we will automatically enrol people into a workplace pension from 2012.

"We welcome the findings of this report that show that the majority of people will stay enrolled in their pension as it will be a welcome boost for those who are struggling to save on their own.

"Automatic enrolment will get 5 million to 8 million people saving for the first time or saving more for their retirement with contributions from their employer."

:: YouGov questioned 5,200 people during March.