Pensions begin at 28

04 March 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
Britons start preparing for their golden years at the age of 28, five years earlier than the international average.

Britain is ahead of the game when it comes to preparing for the future, as 71 per cent of British workers have some pension provision in place, compared to a global average of 54 per cent, according to a study by AXA.

Despite these positive figures, however, there are still a number of individuals who wait until they are well into their 40s and 50s before they start thinking about how they might cope financially when they retire, putting themselves in danger of not having enough time to build up sufficient provisions.

According to the survey, 29 per cent of Brits wait until they are 47 to start preparing for retirement.

While it might seem that many British pensioners are leaving themselves exposed and under prepared, those who have started putting something away for the future are still five years ahead of those who have already retired, and are beating the French and Spanish, who do not start saving until 34, and China and Hungary, where the average ages are 35 and 38 respectively.

Steve Folkard, head of pensions and savings at AXA commented: "It is encouraging to see that Brits lead the way when it comes to retirement planning but not surprising given that state benefits in the UK provide a very modest retirement income compared with many other countries.

"However, in spite of this, there are still a worrying number of people who have still not started saving into their pension. Young people today think retirement is far off and that pensions are something they do not need to worry about, yet figures do show that the earlier you begin saving the greater the benefits when people hit retirement."

Many of the organised Brits were urged to start saving for retirement by joining a company which had a competitive pension scheme in place. Other motivations for Brits to start putting money in their pension pot include getting married or having a serious relationship, and many disorganised retirees and workers said that turning 50 gave them a sharp jolt and spurred them into saving, but this could prove to be too late.

Steve concluded: "It is great to see that so many people in the UK see saving for retirement as a priority. However, it is worrying that against a background of declining employer provision, many are leaving it later to begin planning than they did before.

"The message is clear. Well supported employer provision remains the best way to encourage people to save for their retirement. Any measures which weaken existing employer provision will seriously undermine the retirement future of many of today’s savers."

© Fair Investment Company Ltd