06.04.2020 | 6 minutes estimated reading time | Print this article

17% of Brits aren’t saving for retirement; are you saving enough money to retire?

What’s the best way to save for retirement, are we saving enough, what’s the average retirement age around the world and which country is best to retire to? We answer these questions and more in our research on how to prepare for retirement in the UK in 2020.

The big 5 UK retirement stats:

Retirement statistics 2020

  • The Department of Work and Pensions‘ (DWP) most recent Pensioners’ Income Report found that more than 1 in 5 single pensioners have no source of income other than the state pension and benefits.
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  • The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed that 4 in every 10 pension pots accessed between 2018 and 2019 had a value of less than £10,000.
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  • The average age of retirement in the UK last year (2019) was 65.3 for men and 64.3 for women, according to a DWP annual report.
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  • According to Scottish Widows, 17% of Brits are not saving at all for later life, with more than a fifth of Brits saying they don’t think they’ll ever be able to afford to retire.
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  • 21,500 searches are made every month on Google in the UK for ‘How much do I need to retire?‘, and searches for this term peaked in March 2017, just as the pensions review proposed significant changes to the retirement age.

How retirement ages compare around the world

Unless you’re already retired, if you live in the UK, the state pension age is 65, but this is set to rise to 66 by October 2020, and to 67 between 2026 and 2028. While there are other countries with lower retirement ages, the UK doesn’t have the highest retirement age in the world.

The top 5 countries with the lowest retirement age:

The top 5 countries with the highest retirement age:

How we’re saving for retirement

Retired couple laughing

Although a pension is an obvious route to retirement, there are plenty of other ways to ensure you have enough money to retire, including purchasing property, cash savings and stocks and shares. Different methods work better for different people, but which method of saving do Brits think is best for retirement?

As part of an Office for National Statistics’ Wealth and Assets Survey, non-retired UK adults were asked which method for saving for retirement they think makes the most money?

  • More than half of those working in England think that purchasing property is the best way to save for retirement, with only a third of those in Scotland sharing the same view.
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  • 37% of workers in Scotland say that Employer Pensions are the most effective way to save for retirement, whereas just 20% in England and 24% in Wales agree.
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  • Almost 1 in 10 UK adults think that the best way to save for a pension is with stocks or shares.

Regional variances of how the UK thinks is the best way to save:

 

Property

Employer pensions

Stocks or shares

Other

England

51%

20%

9%

20%

Wales

46%

24%

7%

23%

Scotland

31%

37%

9%

22%

Wealth and Assets Survey results (Office for National Statistics)

Beach retirement couple

The best retirement destinations

Plenty of Brits dream of retiring abroad, whether for the good weather, a lower cost of living or the pursuit of a slower pace of life, but which country is the best place for Brits to retire to? We carried out research to find out the answer:

1. Romania

With over 2,000 hours of sunshine per year, relatively low living costs, low crime rates, a high position in the World Happiness Report and plenty of affordable flights to and from the UK, it’s not difficult to see why Romania performed so well in our study.

Even though Romania receives fewer tourists than other popular holiday destinations such as Spain, English is widely spoken in Romania, so you wouldn’t need to worry too much if your Romanian isn’t quite up to scratch.

If you’re looking for an overseas retirement destination that offers a high standard of living in a beautiful environment that includes Black Sea beach resorts and cities steeped in history, Romania might be right for you.

2. Spain

There’s no shortage of British retirees making the most of the Spanish sunshine for a good reason. Whether you’re looking for island living, mainland beaches, beautiful mountain living or cities steeped in history, Spain has plenty of options.

The cost of living in Spain is lower than the UK, crime rates are significantly lower, and Madrid benefits from 2,700+ hours of sunshine per year, which is over 1,000 more than London. If you’re just looking for a warmer slice of home away from home, there are plenty of communities of British ex-pats to choose from.

Flights are readily available to and from airports all over the UK and Spain, and the costs for flights are remarkably affordable outside of the school holidays.

3. Finland

Finland is officially the happiest place in the world (according to the World Happiness Index). It’s only the cost of living (which is higher than the UK) and the amount of sunshine (not much more than the UK) that kept Finland from being higher on our list.

The crime rates are very low and Finnish healthcare is considered to be amongst the best in the world. Finland also boasts some truly stunning natural scenery.

4. Cyprus

With 3,300 hours of sunshine per year, lower living costs than the UK, lower crime than the UK and good polling in the World Happiness Report, Cyprus isn’t just a holiday maker’s favourite, it’s a top retirement destination too.

While Greek and Turkish are the official languages of Cyprus, English is a widely spoken second language. From the history-steeped streets of Nicosia to the fun-filled entertainment resort of Paphos, there’s plenty to see and do here, and the Mediterranean beaches are simply beautiful.

5. Malta

Malta boasts 3,054 hours of sunshine, lower cost of living than the UK and a lower crime index and ranked as the second-highest place on our list in the World Happiness Index too.

Malta has a rich history, and English is widely spoken, with frequent flights to and from various UK airports and pleasant weather, even in Winter.

Where did the UK rank?

The United Kingdom didn’t quite make the cut for our top 50 list at position 52, which considering the often dismal British weather and high cost of living, isn’t too surprising. However, our excellent nationalised healthcare system is a definite plus point for staying in the UK. Here’s how the UK stacks up in the four key areas we analysed against our top 5 retirement hot spots:

Where to retire

Top 50 countries to retire to

Here’s our full list of the top 50 countries to retire to around the world:

 

Country

1

Romania

2

Spain

3

Finland

4

Cyprus

5

Malta

6

Slovakia

7

Mexico

8

Czech Republic

9

Austria

10

Portugal

11

Chile

12

Nepal

13

Slovenia

14

Australia

15

Belarus

16

Denmark

17

Thailand

18

Paraguay

19

Estonia

20

Canada

21

Bhutan

22

Turkey

23

Poland

24

North Macedonia (formerly Macedonia)

25

Serbia

26

Netherlands

27

Taiwan

28

Croatia

29

New Zealand

30

Switzerland

31

Hungary

32

Moldova

33

Brazil

34

Trinidad and Tobago

35

Greece

36

Bolivia

37

Iceland

38

Lithuania

39

Bulgaria

40

Italy

41

Germany

42

Norway

43

Mongolia

44

United States of America (USA)

45

Costa Rica

46

Latvia

47

Mauritius

48

South Korea

49

Japan

50

Belize

Research info

Independent research carried out by MacNaught Digital on behalf of Raisin UK.