Poverty is now the greatest fear we have in old age

Poverty is now the greatest fear we have in old age, but almost half of us stubbornly refuse to do anything about it and many more say they cannot afford to, according to a new survey by NOP for PensionStore, a specialist pension company.

The survey found that 53 per cent of people polled rate poverty as their greatest worry, compared with 47 per cent citing health problems, 21 per cent specifying crime and 15 per cent worried about loneliness.

The message that the state will no longer provide an adequate pension has begun to get through, although 55 per cent admit they do not understand how the state pension works and 40 per cent of people still working are relying solely on the state.

Yet 40 per cent even of those contributing to a company or personal pension are afraid it will not provide enough for them to live. Another 40 per cent said they could not afford to contribute more, but of those, 46 per cent are paying for satellite or cable TV, 47 per cent have a mobile phone and 39 per cent a second car.

The Independent has produced a free, 52-page 'Guide to Pensions Planning', sponsored by Equitable Life. For your copy, call 0800 137372 or fill out the coupon (left).

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