UK - Pensions are seen as an "old fashioned" way to save for retirement compared with property, Aegon research finds.
Research by the life and pensions provider - of 25 participants all long-term savers, currently working and with a household income of between £20,000 and £80,000 - found people generally felt maintaining their current lifestyle was as, if not more, important than long term savings, such as pensions.
Aegon's research also noted anger and fear about retirement and long-term savings coupled with distrust in financial institutions and the government.
Pensions were seen as an "old fashioned" way to save and handing money over to an "invisible" financial institution. However, many people in the research group did have some form of pension provision - including a company pension.
Property, on the other hand, was seen as a "modern" way to save as something people felt in control of and could understand as yielding a good return over the long term.
UK chief executive Otto Thoresen said: "All commentators agree that the UK faces a chronic level of under saving and that more needs to be done to help fund their retirement years. The current system is too complex, there's very low awareness of the benefits and current incentives aren't enough to overcome people's predilection for investing property."
Aegon said people risk being left with significantly below par income in retirement unless there is a significant increase in private pension saving.
It said this will occur despite the introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012 because the current system of incentives is not working - and stressed the important role employers play in acting as a trigger to saving through employer contributions.
The Pensions Policy Institute was asked to conduct independent economic modelling for different scenarios, which found about one third of people who are auto-enrolled into a pension from 2012 will drop out.
It also found the total pension stock, or schemes' assets under management, is expected to decline by 2055. Part of this is down to an expected 80% fall in the number of active defined benefit members by 2035.
This decline will only be partly offset by the introduction of auto-enrolment, which will have a significant impact on the number of individuals saving in a pension scheme but not on the amount that is being saved, PPI research director Chris Curry said.
Elsewhere, Aegon's research revealed the group found the benefit to the scheme member of tax relief was difficult to grasp - although had little impact on savings behaviour. Compulsory annuitisation at 75 was another area of contention among the research group.
However, the idea of an ISA that could be converted into an annuity appealed because of the tax free nature and the ability to have the option to take an annuity rather than compulsion.
Aegon called on the government to encourage retirement savings in the UK and put forward a number of easily implementable changes, including repositioning tax relief as a "matching" contribution from the government; harnessing the power of engaged employers; a mass education campaign on the tax advantages of savings products; and creating a stable and reliable incentive system people can rely on.
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