Less than half of Britons save for retirement

LESS than half of Britons are actively saving for when they retire, despite 34 per cent admitting they are worried about the future, a survey has revealed.

Only 17 per cent of people disagreed that putting money into a pension was the best way to save for their retirement, but just 48 per cent of people are currently saving for their old age in this way, according to the Department for Work and Pensions. Young people are the most likely to be delaying setting aside money for when they stop work, with 80 per cent of those aged 18 to 24 and 50 per cent of those aged between 25 and 34 not currently saving.

Meanwhile, research showed that while confidence in the economy is increasing, the majority think the benefits of saving have fallen during the past year. Around 44 per cent of people now expect the economy to improve during 2010, up from just 5 per cent when the same research was carried out three months ago.

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But six out of ten people who are not saving think the benefits of setting money aside have fallen during the past year, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

There are also signs that the rate at which people are paying down their debts is starting to slow. Only 12 per cent of people said they had started or increased the rate at which they were paying down mortgage debt compared with 24 per cent three months ago, although 30 per cent have increased the rate at which they are paying off unsecured debt, compared with 33 per cent previously.

Dr Rebecca Driver, the ABI's chief economist, said: "The UK's economy needs to be built on the foundations of a strong savings culture."