Pension statistics

Does the UK know how much to save up for retirement?

Have you ever thought about what you’ll do with your life when you’re done working? Do you see yourself spending your days in a big house in the English countryside, sipping cold drinks on a Spanish beach or running off somewhere more exotic? It’s never too early to start thinking about how to save for your retirement and to compare pension options. Depending on whether you also need to pay the rent and what you want your final years to look like, it may take more money than you think to live them comfortably. We commissioned some research to see how much Brits have saved in their pensions.

Key statistics

We commissioned research to find out just how prepared Brits are for retirement.

  • The UK’s average pension pot stands at just £42,651
  • This figure makes up just 18% of the recommended total of £237,000 for those retiring at age 67
  • 19% of the population (a fifth of all Brits) say they have no form of private or workplace pension
  • A further 18% of the population have a workplace pension but no private pension

Pension withdrawals in the UK

We conducted a survey across the UK to find out how much Brits currently have saved in their pension pots. Our findings revealed that the average pension pot in the UK for all Brits (both retired and non-retired) stands at just £42,651.

With pension specialists recommending that someone retiring at 67 should have at least £237,000 saved for a “comfortable” retirement, this means that the average Brit’s pension stands at just 18% of this figure. The more worrying findings from our survey revealed that 19% of the population say they have no form of private or workplace pension. This equates to about a fifth of the nation having no pension at all. A further 18% have a workplace pension but no private pension.

Meanwhile, non-retired Brits have just £33,809 saved in their pension pot – £203,191 less than the recommended amount for a comfortable retirement according to Profile Pension’s pension calculator.

Find out how your pension compares to the rest of the UK






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The amount in your pension pot is currently the national average in 2021.

Percentage of population Number of Brits
Have a pension 81% 42,446,709
Have no pension 19% 9,956,635

Effects of pension withdrawals

A fifth of the population currently have no form of private or workplace pension, and this could be for varying reasons. Some may have chosen to opt out from their workplace pension if they were in a situation where their finances would immediately benefit from the extra money. Alternatively, a loss of employment may have affected their access to it. Many Brits may have also taken similar steps with their private pension to stay afloat during the pandemic – this includes reducing, pausing or stopping payments altogether.

However, it should be noted that the long-term effects of taking such action can be grave if that money isn’t replaced. Considering the effects of compound interest, any amount paid into a pension pot today could be worth thousands more in just a few decades. As an example, £10,000 paid into a pension pot now, earning an interest rate of 5% per year, would be worth £25,330 in 20 years, £41,259 in 30 years and £67,207 in 40 years. The graph below demonstrates this increase over a period of 70 years.

Years Pension payment
1 £10,500
2 £10,525
3 £11,051
4 £11,604
5 £12,184
6 £12,793
7 £13,433
8 £14,105
9 £14,810
10 £15,550
11 £16,328
12 £17,144
13 £18,001
14 £18,901
15 £19,846
16 £20,839
17 £21,881
18 £22,975
19 £24,123
20 £25,330
21 £26,596
22 £27,926
23 £29,322
24 £30,788
25 £32,328
26 £33,944
27 £35,641
28 £37,423
29 £39,295
30 £41,259
31 £43,322
32 £45,488
33 £47,763
34 £50,151
35 £52,659
36 £55,291
37 £58,056
38 £60,959
39 £64,007
40 £67,207
41 £70,568
42 £74,096
43 £77,801
44 £81,691
45 £85,775
46 £90,064
47 £94,567
48 £99,296
49 £104,260
50 £109,473
51 £114,947
52 £120,694
53 £126,729
54 £133,066
55 £139,719
56 £146,705
57 £154,040
58 £161,742
59 £169,829
60 £178,321
61 £187,237
62 £196,598
63 £206,428
64 £216,750
65 £227,587
66 £238,967
67 £250,915
68 £263,461
69 £276,634
70 £290,465

Pensions by gender

The most surprising statistics are seen in comparisons by gender, where the survey also revealed a discrepancy in pension amounts for men and women. On average, men who have not yet retired have £62,336 saved in their pension pot, while women have just £22,735 saved – 64% less.

Some reasoning behind this disparity can be attributed to the differences in salary between men and women. Despite the gender pay gap among all employees reducing from 17.4% in 2019 to 15.5% in 2020, this still means that when even the minimum pension contribution of 8% is applied to earnings by gender, women accumulate less in their pension pot. Women also make up the majority of part-time employment in the UK. In December 2020, 38% of women were working in part-time employment, compared to just 13% of men.

Men Women
Average amount in pension £62,336 £22,735

Pensions by generation

In terms of age breakdowns, millennials have £17,175 saved on average. As you would expect, these totals rise along with the generations. Gen X have £35,175 saved, while baby boomers have £61,546 in their pension pot. Despite many of them being retired, the average amount saved by the silent generation is only £111,855.

Millennials understandably lead the way with 21% and 15% not having a pension. However, the figure remains high for gen X (19%) as well. Despite many people within these demographics being retired, a staggering 22% of baby boomers and 30% of the silent generation said they did not have a workplace or private pension. This would leave them with just a state pension to live off.

Generation Amount saved
Millennials £17,175
Gen X £35,175
Baby boomers £61,546
Silent generation £111,855

Zoe Stabler, investment writer at the personal finance comparison site, finder.com, said: “The pandemic has been extremely tough for Brits in many ways, with a lot of people having to take unprecedented steps in order to stay afloat financially. It is understandable that some Brits have reduced, or paused, payments in order to direct money to more immediate priorities.

However, if you are someone who has had to do this, it is vital that you look at replacing this money or at least starting to pay into your pension again. The power of compound interest means that what you pay in now could be a life-changing amount if you’re able to leave it for decades. As an example, £10,000 paid in now, earning an interest rate of 5% per year, would be worth £25,330 in 20 years, £41,259 in 30 years and £67,207 in 40 years.

Also, if you opted out of your workplace pension in order to save money during the pandemic, you should look to rejoin it as soon as you can. If you contribute 5% of your salary each month towards it, your employer is obliged to pay a minimum of 3% on top of this, which is effectively free money topping up your pension!”

Methodology

Finder commissioned Censuswide to carry out a nationally representative sample of 2,000 people throughout Great Britain at the end of April 2021, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

The future projections were calculated by taking the amount of £10,000 and applying 5% interest each year, and the comfortable retirement amount of £237,000 at the beginning of retirement (aged 67) was taken from the Profile Pensions pension calculator.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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