1 in 5 near retirement don’t know how much money they’ll need, finds Scottish Widows

  • 28% of UK adults don’t know how much income they will need in retirement 
  • £29,329 annual household income needed for a comfortable retirement
  • Half of people in their 50s and early 60s have still not researched what they need to retire

More than one in four (28%) UK adults don’t know how much income they will need in retirement, according to new research from Scottish Widows

Data from its soon to be published 2024 Retirement Report show that across all age groups, 28% do not know how much income they will need in retirement. 

Meanwhile one in five (21%) of those aged 50 and over still have not worked out how much income they will need when they stop working.

Just over £29,000 was the average annual household income people think they’ll need for a comfortable retirement. Yet tracking this against Scottish Widows’ National Retirement Forecast suggests that just 43% of people would be on track to have this income in retirement. 

The report highlights a concerning reality that only a third (34%) of people think they are adequately preparing for retirement, increasing to 40% amongst those aged 60-64. When it comes to those approaching retirement, 54% expect to retire after they would like and 64% worry they will run out of money in retirement, compared to 38% of today’s retirees.


The need for greater engagement is clear among those approaching retirement, as half of people in their 50s and early 60s have still not researched how much they might need to save.

​While more than four in 10 (43%) future retirees expect the State Pension to provide a modest or significant part of their income in retirement, it forms a significant proportion of income for 46% of people. It’s therefore not surprising that 45% of those polled are concerned about changes to the State Pension and more than one in 10 (12%) of future retirees don’t expect it to be around when they retire. 

Peter Glancy, Head of Pension Policy at Scottish Widows, said: “Expectation versus reality when it comes to retirement income shows how vital it is to help people – especially those on the verge of retirement – build a clearer picture of what their own lives could look like when they stop working, and what they can do now to achieve the best outcomes.


“There are lots of tools available to help people get to grips with pension basics and work out the right steps to take to boost their retirement income, and the earlier we start thinking about our pensions as part of our everyday finances, the more we can do to close that gap.” 

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