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British self-employed lag global peers when it comes to pension saving

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When it comes to retirement planning, British self-employed dramatically lag their counterparts abroad, according to a global survey.

Of the UK’s 4.6 million self-employed workers, 75% do not save regularly for retirement, placing them second bottom out of 15 countries surveyed by Aegon.

Japan came bottom of the ranking with a staggering 89% of self-employed workers not saving regularly for retirement.

At the other end of the scale, India took pole position with 52% of people in self-employment regularly saving for later life.

Despite falling behind their peers with regards to pension saving, UK self-employed were optimistic about the timing of their retirement. Although 53% said they’d still be working after age 65, they cited positive reasons for doing so, like keeping their brain active or because they enjoyed their career. Only one in ten expected they would never retire.

The self-employed’s view of retirement: % who are always saving for retirement 

GRAPH (002)

Aegon criticised the auto-enrolment rules, introduced in 2012, to get the nation saving for retirement.

The group said the reforms neglect the self-employed who miss out on valuable employer and government contributions.  But an extra sting in the tail is self-employed business owners who employ staff have to pay for their employees’ pension contributions.

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon, said: “Against a backdrop of rapidly increasing numbers of self-employed in the UK, there’s a growing concern that this group are increasingly likely to struggle with inadequate retirement income when they eventually give up working.

“The self-employed face unique challenges when it comes to saving for retirement. As well as missing out on a lifetime of employer contributions, a variable income means many don’t have certainty of how much they’ll earn from one month to the next, making saving difficult.

“Preparing for retirement requires a long-term do-it-yourself approach which is currently being overlooked by too many of the self-employed.”

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