Are you retirement ready?

Couple sitting at table and calculating bills

Most people expect their retirement income to originate from three sources: the State, their employer, and personal savings with workplace schemes becoming increasingly important in the retirement stakes. According to our latest research*, people in the UK expect state benefits to make up 42% of their retirement income, with the remainder coming from a workplace pension (32%) and personal savings and investments (26%).

An essential ingredient for achieving long-term financial security is having a well-developed plan. Ideally, this should include a backup plan, in case of unforeseen events. Our research identified types of saving behaviour within the UK. In this article, we speak to Kate Smith, Head of Pensions at Aegon, about the small steps you could take to turn your saving habits around.

What you do next depends on what type of saver you are:


Habitual saver

Nearly half (49%) of the people we spoke to are habitual savers. It’s great that so many people are regularly saving for their retirement, especially as regular savers are 13 times more likely than the non-savers to have a written retirement plan. Workplace pension savings are playing a huge part in general savings.

Kate’s thoughts: Most people save through workplace pension schemes. This makes sense as the employer contributes too – it’s free money. Having a plan definitely improves your chances of actually achieving the retirement you want. Our research shows that, if you’re saving on a regular basis, you probably have a better handle on what you have already.

Are you on track for the retirement income you aspire to? Do you need to make any changes to achieve this? Small changes such as increasing your pension contributions, taking advantage of employer matching, reviewing how your savings are invested, and delaying retirement age can make a real difference. Finally, as with so much in life, planning is the key to success. But that’s not so difficult: simply start early and save regularly.

Occasional saver

20% of people we spoke to told us that they saved from time to time and they are probably in a workplace pension too.

Kate’s thoughts: Check out your savings. If you are paying just the minimum, it can make a big difference to your ultimate retirement if you can consider increasing your contributions, particularly if your employer matches your contribution. Regular saving is the best way of achieving a prosperous old age. Make a commitment now to put a little extra each month. It may affect your lifestyle less than you think.

The minimum contribution that must be paid into an auto-enrolment workplace pension scheme for employees is increasing from 6 April 2018, but don’t worry, your employer will keep you up to date on all changes and how they might affect you.

Past savers

Some 12% of people have started saving for retirement but, for one reason or another, have stopped.

Kate’s thoughts: Even a small regular payment can make a big difference. From time to time, you will have a chance to opt back in your workplace pension scheme. And, if you’re over 50, savings you make now can still have an effect on your retirement income. It’s never too late to start saving. You workplace pension scheme may allow you to make one-off contributions, as well as regular ones so there are multiple benefits to opting into pension saving. Talk to your employer about joining or rejoining the workplace pension scheme.

Aspiring saver

If you’re one of the 12% of people in the UK who aren’t saving now, but plan to in the future, now is the time for action.

Kate’s thoughts: Saving regularly from as early an age as possible can really boost the income you have later. If you’re employed, find out more about your workplace pension. If you’ve opted out of your workplace pension scheme, you’ll be missing out on valuable employer contributions.

In some recent research, almost a quarter (23%) of the 18-34 year olds who took part told us that they didn’t  know how much their employer was contributing to their pension. This compared with 21% of all respondents who were unaware of how much their employer was paying in, despite 97% being aware their employer was contributing. Finding out the details of your workplace pension is a good first step to take.


Only 7% of people in the UK have never saved for retirement but if you are in your employer’s scheme, you are ahead of the game.

Kate’s thoughts: Double check that you are in your employer’s scheme. Otherwise, you’ll only have the State pension to fall back on. If you have 35 years full National Insurance contributions or credits, the maximum entitlement is £159.55 per week. Try to eliminate any debt you have, and save a regular amount into workplace pension scheme.

If you need a hand planning your retirement our tool Your Retirement Planner is a good place to start. 


The value of an investment can fall as well as rise and isn’t guaranteed. You could get back less than you originally invested. If you're still unsure what is best for you, speak to a financial adviser. 

*Successful Retirement - Healthy Ageing and Financial Security - The Aegon Retirement Readiness Survey 2017