Thursday 18 January 2018

We dream of retiring early but only 50pc of workers fund pension

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

WORKERS in their 30s and 40s are eager to retire early to travel and pursue further education.

But half of them have yet to put a pension in place to fund their retirement dreams.

Taking up a new sport and engaging in activities with their partner also feature highly for those at the mid-point in their careers.

Only 50pc of those between the ages of 30 and 45 have started saving for their retirement, despite four out of 10 of them being concerned about having enough income to do the things they would like to do when they retire.

Many expect to be stretched financially in retirement, a survey commissioned by Bank of Ireland Life shows.

The average worker in their 30s and early 40s puts just over €100 a month into a savings account or a pension.

But monthly spending on food is three times this amount, with utility bills sucking €235 a month out of the wallets and purses of those in their 30s and early 40s.

Dubliners and those in Leinster are better at saving than those in the rest of the country.

The average monthly saving in Dublin is €104, compared with €90 in the rest of Leinster. In Munster, €81 is the monthly amount saved by workers in their 30s and early 40s. In Connaught and Ulster, the amount saved is just €71 a month.

Some 85pc of those surveyed said they worried about not having enough savings to do all the things they wanted to do when they retired, the research, carried out by Red C on behalf of the bank, shows.

Concerns centre on paying medical bills and supporting themselves through retirement.

One of the stark findings of the survey was that 80pc of workers in their 30s and 40s believed they would have to work beyond the state retirement age, which is due to rise in stages to 68.

Large numbers were unaware that the state contributory pension was €206.30 a week.

Head of pensions at Bank of Ireland Life Bernard Walsh said: "There is a definite lack of awareness around the State pension and especially around the pension age increasing from 65 to 68 for anyone born after 1961."

A person earning €35,000 a year would need to be saving €110 a month into a pension to achieve an annual income in retirement of €18,000, assuming the state pension of €12,000 is part of the income.

For someone who waits until they are 35, monthly pension contributions would need to be €150, according to the the bank's calculations.

INCENTIVE

A 40-year-old would need to put €209 aside a month. Waiting until 45 to start a retirement fund would mean putting aside €305 a month to achieve a income in retirement of €18,000, when the state pension is included.

Mr Walsh added: "Consumers should think of their pension as a savings plan for their retirement. In planning for it, the best approach is to consider how much you will need to fund your retirement."

Meanwhile, a group that campaigns on social justice issues said a state pension could be provided for everyone by reducing the tax breaks for workers saving for retirement.

Social Justice Ireland said the cost of a €230-a-week universal pension could be paid for by providing a lower tax break. At the moment, workers can get €100 into a pension fund for a net cost of just €59 because of the tax incentive provided by the Government to encourage pension saving.

Irish Independent

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