Inflation Blamed For Ruining Pension Plans For Millions

Inflation Blamed For Ruining Pension Plans For MillionsMillions of pensioners and over 50s across Europe doubt they can maintain their current standard of living in retirement.

A major survey of 50 to 70 year olds across Britain, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Switzerland found half do not believe they have saved enough money to see them comfortably through retirement.

Those approaching retirement are more pessimistic about their financial futures than those who have already given up work.

The main concern is how changes to pension rules and the financial crisis have affected their retirement savings.

Only 40% of workers aged 50 to 54 believe they can afford to keep their current standard of living when they retire, while 53% of those aged between 60 and 70 say they feel reasonable well-off.

Investment decisions

When asked, inflation was cited as the biggest financial problem by the majority of retirement savers across all the nations but Austria.

The problem was particularly acute for those in Germany (60%) and the UK (65%).

However, the study revealed pensioners in the UK and The Netherlands overestimated the effects of a rising cost of living, while Austrians underestimated. The rest were more realistic, said the report from financial firm Allianz.

British retirement savers stand separate from the rest of Europe over investment decisions.

Although half of those in the UK manage their investments with the help of an adviser, the only other country to come anywhere near this level was The Netherlands (42%). The Swiss tend to let advisers manage their investments for them, with less than a quarter playing any active role (23%).

Study author Dr Renate Finke said: “Planning for retirement is very important to make one’s later life easier and more comfortable. Many of the people we talked to felt they had made mistakes with the way they handled their money.

Saved too little

“A third felt they did not start retirement planning early enough and a quarter felt they had saved too little.”

However, two-thirds of those taking the survey consider they were satisfied with their financial planning for retirement.

The Swiss felt the most confidence (81%) in their plans, with those in France (46%) and Italy (54%) feeling the least satisfied.

The study also looked at how retirement savers wanted to collect their pension.

Just over half of the Swiss wanted life-long or annual payments, compared to between a quarter and a third in other countries. Austrians (40%) and Germans (37%) had a marked preference for one-off lump sums compared to the rest.