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UK pension incomes approach 2008 peak

27 January 2017

Prudential calls for education and expansion of risk-adjusted products in response to nearly half of retirees not being financially prepared for retirement

Read more: pension

The average income of people retiring in the UK in 2017 is £18,100, according to research by Prudential. While this has increased for the last four years it remains £600 below the level of 2008.

The UK has undergone substantial pensions reform in recent years, including auto-enrolment into schemes and the liberalising pensions freedoms, which has passed more responsibility to the individual.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: "In the UK the risk and responsibility for retirement provision continues to transfer away from the state and companies to individuals. At the same time the pension freedoms are providing people with a whole new raft of options around taking an income in retirement."

The research found that nearly half (45%) of people planning to retire in 2017 feel they are either not financially well prepared for retirement or are unsure about their preparations.

"As well having a responsibility to develop products that reflect this new reality, providers such as Prudential also need to take an active role in educating and guiding savers through both the longevity and investment risks they now potentially face."

Pension incomes hit a peak of £18,700 in 2008 but declined steadily to a nadir of £15,300 in 2013 due to a combination of poor investment performance and low annuity rates as a result of quantitative easing.

"I think that the demand for risk-managed investments to fund retirement will rise as people face up to the joint challenges of ensuring that they don’t outlive their savings while needing to take an income from their investments in the face of volatile markets."

"We have seen increased demand – through a range of investment and tax wrappers including ISAs, pensions and bonds – for our PruFund of funds, which offer smoothed returns and protection against volatility."

Prudential’s consumer-facing media activity repeats the messages that people should save more and consult a financial advisor, according to Smith-Hughes.

Kirsty Anderson, a retirement income expert at Prudential, added: "We are also seeing a degree of uncertainty from retirees about whether the amount they’ve saved will leave them financially prepared for the years ahead.

"For many people, the value of a consultation with a professional financial adviser, both when saving into a pension and when considering the income options at retirement, should not be underestimated." 

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