Start planning early

More than two thirds of people of working age fear that they will run out of money during their retirement, according to a new report commissioned by HSBC. The global economic downturn has made it even harder for people to put money aside, with 40 per cent saving less for their retirement since the downturn, the report said.

The Future of Retirement A balancing act is the latest in a series of HSBC reports providing insights into the issues associated with ageing populations and increasing life expectancy around the world.

Ipsos MORI carried out the survey of 16,000 people in 15 countries, including people who had already retired as well as those of working age. A significant proportion of those who had already retired – 36 per cent – wished that they had started saving earlier. About two thirds of those who had not prepared adequately for a comfortable retirement realised that there was a shortfall only after they stopped working. More than a third of retirees said people should start planning by the age of 30, at the latest, to maintain their standard of living in retirement.

Almost two in five people of working age surveyed were not saving for retirement at all

But while retirees stressed the importance of planning early, almost two in five people of working age surveyed were not saving for retirement at all.

Many people had cut their levels of retirement saving since the economic downturn. More than 80 per cent said that unexpected events had made it significantly harder for them to set money aside. For some, this was because they had lost their job or seen their income fall. For others, it was because a life-changing event such as an accident or illness had stopped them or their spouse from working.

One in ten people of working age today thought that they would never be able to retire fully from paid employment.

Charlie Nunn, Group Head of Wealth Management, HSBC, said: “There is no quick-fix solution – but the key for people everywhere is to focus on finding the means to save a little for their future, now. We know that budgets are increasingly stretched – but even the smallest amounts saved can help reduce the long-term effect of these challenging times, and make the likelihood of a comfortable retirement all the more real.”

Practical steps towards a better retirement

The Future of Retirement A balancing act suggests some practical steps that people can take to improve their financial wellbeing in retirement:

  • Start saving early
    Retirement can seem a long way off when you are young. Nevertheless, it is crucial to start making retirement plans as early as you can.

  • Know how much you need
    Start thinking about the kind of lifestyle you want when you retire and how much you will need to fund it.

  • Refill the pot
    It is easy for retirement savings to suffer when times are hard. With the worst of the global economic downturn behind us, start thinking how to replenish any depleted funds in your retirement pot.

  • Expect the unexpected
    Unforeseen life events can damage your retirement savings. No one can see into the future, but do consider what could happen and how this will impact your financial planning.

*The Future of Retirement A balancing act was published in January 2015. The report represents the views of 16,000 people in 15 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The findings are based on a nationally representative online survey sample covering people of working age (25 and over) and those in retirement. The survey was conducted by Ipsos MORI in August and September 2014.  You can read the full report at