39% of Brits do not have a pension

20 February 2009 / by Rebecca Sargent
39 per cent of Brits do not have a pension plan in place, new research has found, while 20 per cent of Brits with a pension have had to reduce their contributions or stop paying into it since the credit crunch began

In a survey of 2,000 Brits*, Fairinvestment.co.uk has found that, on average, more than a third are not saving into a pension plan.

When it comes to age, the group least likely to have a pension is 18 and under, where 48 per cent do not have a pension. According to the survey, the age group most likely to have a pension plan in place is 46-50, where 29 per cent admitted to not having a pension.

And, as the UK moves through the stages of a recession, the study has found that of those who do have a pension in place, 20 per cent have had to either stop or reduce their pension contributions altogether.

The study found that 11 per cent of respondents have stopped paying into their pension since the credit crunch began, while a further nine per cent of pension holders have reduced their payments.

A further six per cent of those with a pension have stopped paying into it and transferred their payments into a savings account, which they consider to be safer following the volatility of the stock market in recent weeks.

Nevertheless, almost three quarters (72 per cent) of those with a pension have changed nothing about their retirement funding since the UK economy started on its downward spiral, implying an underlying confidence.

However, despite share prices tumbling, just two per cent of pension holding respondents said that they have increased their pension payments to take advantage of lower share prices.

Commenting, chartered financial planner at Fairinvestment.co.uk Sharon Bratley said: "The fact that so many Brits do not have a pension in place is concerning. It is a fact that we are living longer, so the sooner people start saving for their retirement the better placed they will be when they are not willing or able to work.

"Markets may be unpredictable in the current climate but as long as the investment is long term there is nothing wrong with investing in a pension that is likely to offer higher returns than savings accounts are at the moment."

Commenting on the fact that so many pension holders have had to stop or reduce payments since the credit crunch began, Mrs Bratley added: "It is understandable that people have had to cut back on pension payments, but the more people save now the more comfortable they will be in the long run.

"By saving on a regular basis, investors actually benefit in times of falling stock markets as their fixed monthly contribution buys more units as unit prices fall, the effect of which can really be seen once markets begin to rise again," she concludes.

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*Survey conducted by OnePoll for Fairinvestment.co.uk with 2,000 respondents