Press Release

For immediate release

Only a fifth of the population will be able to live off their pension

  • Half of the UK (50%) think they will need to supplement their pension through various methods
  • 1 in 5 (21%) believe they will need to carry on working in some capacity to help survive retirement
  • A quarter of Brits (25%) do not know if their pension will be enough to support them through retirement

18, March, 2020, LONDON –

Only 1 in 5 of Brits (22%) think they will be able to live solely off their state and private pensions according to personal finance comparison website

This leaves half (50%) of the population believing they will need to supplement their pension through other means, while a quarter (25%) do not know if their pension will be enough to live on.

The most common action Brits are planning to take to top up their pension is to use money from savings accounts, premium bonds or cash ISAs (24%).

Worryingly, continued employment is in second place, with a fifth of Brits (21%) saying they won’t be able to completely stop working at the current retirement age.

Downsizing property is a common move for people as they get older and less mobile, and 1 in 8 Brits (12%) plan to do this. This would release some extra funds to live off when they retire, and is the third most popular method.

A potential sign of generational wealth change, is that 2.9 million (6%) also believe they will need to accept money from their children, or family, when they reach retirement age. For millennials, 11% think they will need to do this when they eventually retire.

Londoners are also not so positive about their pension pot. Almost two-thirds of London’s residents (62%) assume that their pension will need to be supplemented with extra income, making this the region where the highest number of its residents will have to do so. Following London is the South East of England, over half of residents here (55%) believe they will have to top up their pension.

At the other end of the scale, only 2 in 5 (42%) residents from the North West foresee having to supplement their pension. Taking up a part-time job seems the most popular option for residents in the North East with over a quarter (26%) saying they will do this to boost their pension.

The silent generation appears to have had it the easiest as only 28% of those born between 1925 and 1945 have had to subsidise their pension when they have retired.

On the other hand, only 9% of generation Z and 13% of millennials think they will be able to solely rely on their pension.

Men appear to be more confident about being able to live off their pension than women, with 48% expecting to need to top up their pension compared to 52% of women.

To see the full breakdown of the research, visit:

Commenting on the findings, Jon Ostler, CEO at said: “Having enough in your pension has long been a concern for many Brits, with cost of living outpacing salary growth over the past 10 years. Even still, it is a shock to see just a fifth of the population saying they will be able to live solely off their pension.

“The purpose of retirement is to eventually stop working, so it is also a worry to see one in five adults believing that they will need to continue some form of employment to pay the bills. We can expect to see this trend grow over time, along with needing money from children or relatives, which highlights how important it is to start saving early.

“On top of this, Brits now have to contend with coronavirus, which has caused a sizeable decline in most people’s investments. However for generations who are still saving for their pension, it is actually a great time to kick start it while the market is down.”


If retirement is still many years away, here are some tips to get your pension looking healthy:

Unless you absolutely have to, don’t opt out of your automatic workplace pension. Your employer is obliged to contribute a minimum of 3% of your income while you put in 5%, so by opting out you would be forgoing this “free” money. We looked into this, and someone earning the UK average salary (£29,669) who stays in the automatic pension scheme will see their pension worth £92,057 after a 30-year saving period. This is almost £64,000 more than if they just kept the cash instead.

You can also provide a huge boost to your pension by starting to save as early as possible. Compound interest means the amount earned on interest becomes more and more substantial as time goes by, so putting a lump sum in your pension just a few years earlier can make a huge difference.

If you find yourself with some spare cash or you get a pay rise, place the extra money into savings. Once you’ve built up some savings, place that money into your pension pot – now is an especially good time to do so as the market has lost a lot of value because of coronavirus. If you are wondering how much you should be putting into your pension, why not take the age that you start your pension and halve it. This is a sensible percentage of your pre-taxed salary you should put into your pension each year until you retire.


Finder commissioned Onepoll on 4–6 March 2020 to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+. A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.


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