Simon Read: A Reliant Robin is the best most of us can hope for when we retire


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The Independent Online

Pensions minister Steve Webb quipped that pension pots can now be used to buy Lamborghinis. Do you know how much one of the luxury cars actually costs? Around £165,000. And have you any idea how big the average pension pot is? Less than £30,000.

That's prompted the National Pensioners Convention (NPC) to criticise the minister for being "out of touch" with reality, as the vast majority of workers will never build up a pension anywhere near the amount needed to buy an expensive motor.

Dot Gibson, the NPC's general secretary, said: "Mr Webb has given the impression that millions of workers will have hundreds of thousands of pounds tucked away in their pensions, when the reality is that the majority of those in the Government's new auto-enrolment scheme will be lucky if they get £36,000 after a lifetime of paying in.

"His comments show how out of touch he is with the whole pension system in the UK, which continues to leave 2 million existing pensioners in poverty and future generations having to work longer, pay more and get less when they retire.

"Forget buying a Lamborghini – at this rate, future pensioners will be lucky if they'll be able to afford a Reliant Robin."

That's a good point and it highlights the real problem with our pension system – the fact that few of us are saving enough to give us genuine choices when we get older.

Research last year suggested that people think the average annual income they would need in retirement to have a comfortable life is around £26,000. But in order to generate that level of income, it could be that they would need to have built up a pension pot of more than £550,000.

That gap between expectation and reality is the real pensions crisis we're facing.

Twitter: @simonnread

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