Pension statistics: What is the average pension pot in the UK?

We look at pension statistics, including average pension pot by age group and on retirement.

Have you ever thought about what you’ll do with your life when you’re done working? It’s never too early to start thinking about saving for retirement or comparing pension options. We commissioned some research to see how much Brits have saved in their pension pots.

UK pension statistics: Highlights

  • The average pension pot in the UK is £35,357. This makes up 12% of the recommended total of £285,000 for those retiring at 66.
  • The average pension pot for a retired person is £69,481, which is just a quarter (24%) of the recommended retirement total of £285,000.
  • Almost 1 in 5 UK adults (18.4%) either do not have a pension or have nothing saved in their pension, which equates to over 9.7 million people.
  • Almost half (47%) of UK adults have stopped paying into their pension at some point.
  • Men have approximately 1.6 times more in average pension savings than women, with £42,892 compared to £26,691.

What is the average pension pot in the UK?

The average pension savings in the UK stand at just £35,357 per person in 2023, including both retired and non-retired adults. This is down from an average pension pot of £42,651 in 2021, a decrease of 17%.

To enjoy a moderate standard of living on retirement at age 66 in 2023, it is recommended to have £285,000 saved in total. However, the average UK adult has only 12.4% of this saved in their pension pot.

How many people have a pension?

Less than two-thirds of adults (58%) stated that they had pension savings in our survey. Almost 1 in 5 adults (18.4%) either do not have a pension of any kind or have nothing saved into their pension, which is estimated to be 9.7 million people. A further 16% of people are unsure how much they have saved in their pension.

What is the average UK pension pot at retirement?

According to our survey results, retired people have £69,481 saved in their pension pot on average. This is approximately a quarter (24.4%) of the recommended UK retirement income for a moderate standard of living, which is £285,000.

What is the average pension pot by age?

As you would expect, the average amount in a pension pot increases with age because those saving regularly accumulate more savings over time, as well as earning interest. 18-24 year-olds have just £10,303 saved, while those aged 55 and over have £64,354 saved.

Age group Average pension pot (£)
18-24 £10,303
25-34 £18,025
35-44 £22,925
45-54 £35,326
55+ £64,354

The gender pension gap

Our survey found that men have far more saved in their pension on average than women, at £42,892 compared to £26,691. This means that men have over 1.6 times more in their pension.

The gender pay gap is likely to have something to do with this, as it currently stands at 14.9% among all employees. Other possible reasons for the gender pension gap include time taken away from work for childcare and other caring duties and more women undertaking part-time work.

What is the average pension pot by region?

The area with the biggest average pension is Northern Ireland, with an impressive £47,455, which is over £12,000 higher than the UK average. Meanwhile, Scotland residents have an average pension pot of just £25,052, which is over £10,000 less than the UK average.

Region Average pension pot (£)
East of England £27,331
Greater London £38,259
East Midlands £32,794
West Midlands £28,877
North East £33,835
North West £41,199
Northern Ireland £47,455
Scotland £25,052
South East £35,636
South West £28,111
Wales £43,190
Yorkshire and the Humber £46,880
UK average £35,357

What is the average pension pot by generation?

As with different age groups, the average pension pot increases as the generations get older. While generation Z has just £11,291 in its pension pot on average, the silent generation, who are aged 74 and over, have a far more significant £97,008.

The effect of compound interest if you continue to pay into your pension means that the savings will increase more significantly between older generations as a larger amount of interest is earned on a bigger pension pot.

Generation Average pension pot (£)
Gen Z 11291.48
Millennials 18998.78
Gen X 34775.52
Baby Boomers 61690.21
Silent Gen 97008.45

How many people stop pension contributions?

Almost half (47%) of UK adults have stopped paying into their pensions at some point, and a further 11% of adults are considering doing so at some point, meaning a total of 58% have stopped or intend to stop pension payments.

Why do people stop pension contributions?

The most common reason among those who have stopped paying is due to the rising cost of daily expenses and bills, followed by the rising cost of rent or mortgage payments.

Other common reasons for stopping pension payments include paying off debt, having money for a holiday or other big purchases, or having money to give to your children or other important people in your life. Some people also stop paying into their pension due to illness or changing jobs.

Reason for stopping pension payments Percentage
Rising cost of daily expenses and bills 13.29%
Rising cost of rent or mortgage payments 9.62%
To have more money to pay off debts 7.34%
To give money to children or other dependent(s) 5.23%
To have money to put towards a holiday or other big non-essential purchase 6.78%

Pension projections with auto-enrolment

We projected how the average private pension for someone currently aged 22 would grow over time based on the current average salary for each age group and across genders.

It found that the average person would have a pension pot of around £281,000 if they were auto-enrolled at 22 and retired at 68. However, there is a substantial difference between men and women, with women having around £218,000 and men having over £318,000 – a gap of £100,00 at retirement.

Group Average private pension pot
All £281,480
Women £218,420
Men £318,651

What annual income would the average pension give you?

If current trends continue, a private pension on the average salary plus state pension would give you around £22,800 a year after tax, or £1,900 a month. This is assuming you take the 25% tax-free lump sum at retirement and split this equally for your yearly spending, and that you live until 87.5 – the average life expectancy for someone currently aged 22.

However, recent research suggests that, in today’s money, £31,300 is needed for a moderate standard of retirement for a single person, over £8,000 more than the projections would give you. A single person needs £43,100 a year for a comfortable retirement, which includes enough for gifts and an annual holiday to Europe, but the projected pension savings today would give you over £20,000 less than this number.

The projected average private pension pot on retirement is lower for women, and their life expectancy is longer, at 89 years for someone currently aged 22. This gives them a lower yearly income of around £19,800 after tax. This is a shortfall of £11,500 a year for a moderate retirement and over £23,000 a year for a comfortable retirement.

The yearly retirement income is higher for men, at an estimated £25,300, but this still falls £6,000 short of what is needed for a moderate retirement and almost £18,000 a year short of what is needed for a comfortable retirement based on today’s conditions.

Group Yearly retirement income Shortfall
All £22,299 £20,801
Women £19,421 £23,679
Men £24,620 £18,480

The projections are based on current economic conditions and estimate what could happen to private pensions if current salary and living costs trends continue. The projected figures are in today’s money rather than adjusted for inflation to make it more relatable to current experiences.

Methodology

    Finder commissioned Censuswide to carry out a nationally representative sample of 2,000 people throughout Great Britain in July 2023, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.

    The moderate savings needed for retirement are taken from calculations by Retirement Living Standards and Standard Life.

    UK population figures used were taken from ONS.

    For the auto-enrolment projections, Finder took average salaries by age group and gender, as reported by the House of Commons Library, working out what pension contributions would be each month with auto-enrolment, where the employee contributes 5% and the employer contributes 3%. Annual fees of 0.75% and annual growth of 5% were also applied to get an accumulating total over time until retirement age at 68.

    The average private pension pot was then combined with the state pension to get an average yearly income after tax. The yearly income was calculated using ONS life expectancy and the average number of years someone would spend in retirement.

    The yearly expenditure needed for moderate and comfortable living standards in retirement is from the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA), a trade body.

    The projections are based on current economic conditions and estimate what could happen to private pensions if salaries and living costs change in line with the conditions we are currently experiencing. It therefore uses current figures.

  • 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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Written by

Danny Butler

Danny is a publisher at Finder specialising in insurance and investing. He previously worked at the global insurer Aon and has appeared in national media giving advice on insurance. Danny holds a BA in International Business from the University of Plymouth and has undying loyalty to his average-poor football team, Portsmouth FC. See full profile

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