Retirement confidence hits new low

According to Alliance Trust Savings, the financial services provider, Britain's retirement confidence has hit the lowest point in its three-year study, with 43% of the nation now doubting they will be able to enjoy a good retirement life.

Alliance Trust Savings' ‘Retirement Confidence Index', which is now in its third year, shows that over the last three years the gap between people stating they are confident about their retirement prospects, and those who say they aren't, has steadily widened. While in 2006, 38% of Brits stated they were concerned about their retirement provisions, this figure rose to 40% in 2007 and 43% in 2008. This year, only one in three Brits (34%) in contrast believed they will be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

The retirement concerns are particularly prevalent amongst the 30-50 year-olds. Almost half (49%) of this pre-retirement group is unconfident about being able to provide for a comfortable retirement. This compares to 43% for the previous two years.

Women seem to have a negative outlook on their retirement prospects. Almost half of women (49%) don't think they will be able to make sufficient retirement provisions, compared to only just over a third (36%) of men.

Steve Latto, Pensions Development Manager at Alliance Trust, comments: "Britain's wallets are no doubt starting to feel the pinch - inflation is running at a 17 year high, food and utility prices are on the up and the credit crunch continues to take its toll on day to day life. In the current economic conditions, consumers are taking a much more pessimistic view of their retirement prospects and are losing confidence about being able to provide for a comfortable retirement life.

"It is, however, important to remember that retirement planning is a long-term process. The usual rules apply - the earlier people start saving for their retirement, the easier it will be for them to be able to accumulate a sufficiently big enough fund. While the current economic conditions may tempt people to reduce their pension contributions or even delay starting a pension until ‘better times', this approach should be considered carefully.

"Retirement planning can be as easy as starting to save in an ISA, which can later be transferred into a pension wrapper and attract tax relief of up to 40%. We would encourage people to ensure they start planning for their life after work now and hopefully we will see the Alliance Trust Retirement Confidence Index move upwards in the future."