For many of us, old age and retirement can feel a long way off, and with the world seemingly lurching from crisis to crisis, many of us are focused on simply getting through the next few days and weeks, rather than looking too far ahead.
According to a new study by Hargreaves Lansdown, one in five people said they would leave planning their retirement until they’re aged 60 or above.
The same survey showed that one in five people would only begin retirement planning at the age of between 30 and 39. Similarly, just one in seven people said they started planning for retirement when they were aged between 18 and 24.
So what does this mean for future retirees? Well, it’s a fact that the sooner you start putting money into your pension, the more time you have to build up a sizeable sum that should see you through your retirement.
Conversely, if you start too late, you’ve got a very short space of time in which to build up a retirement fund, which could hugely affect your ability to lead the lifestyle you want to enjoy after you finish working.
And if you start projecting your likely pension income in retirement, you may find that you don’t have very long in which to make up any shortfall.
Commenting on the figures, Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, acknowledged that it can be “easy to put off planning until the last moment”.
However, she insisted that pensions were a “long-term game”, which means action needs to be taken sooner rather than later.
“It’s worth taking the time earlier in your career to think about what kind of retirement you would like and put a plan in place to help you achieve it,” Ms Morrisey commented.
A lack of financial knowledge and education about pensions and retirement could be one big reason why so many people are kicking in the can down the road.
In fact, according to a YouGov survey, commissioned by Drewberry, 41 per cent of people with a workplace pension don’t actually know what they’re paying in and what they’ll get from it when they retire.
More than half of those polled also said they’d like to know if they’re saving enough for retirement, and significantly, one in three believe their employer should pay for them to discuss retirement planning with a financial adviser to get a better understanding of their finances.
Whether a lack of financial education leads to people ignoring and putting off financial planning is a constant topic of debate in the financial services industry. But it’s clear that more needs to be done to engage with both employers and savers on this issue, so people are properly set up for later life, and the fear factor that surrounds pension planning is taken out of the picture.
Interestingly, 87 per cent of the people polled by YouGov said they pay into a workplace pension, while 56 per cent said the provision of a workplace pension is important to them when they’re looking for a new job.
That suggests that many people do want to lay down the groundwork to secure a happy and prosperous future, but don’t necessarily know how – and that’s where making financial advice available and accessible becomes so important.