We all know that Brits are in the proverbial when it comes to pension savings, but the extent of our pension shortfall is frightening.
A global study of pension saving by HSBC bank shows that Brits are facing the worst gap in retirement savings. It would be a bit of an exaggeration to say that we have the worst pension funding in the world as the study only covers 15 countries but out of those studied the UK comes out bottom of the class.
The average Brit only saves enough to cover seven years of a 19-year retirement. Egypt comes in second place, with savings covering just five years of an 11 year retirement and the French only save enough to cover nine years of a 19-year retirement.
Who would have thought we'd be saving less than a country that is in the midst of an uprising?
What was most concerning about the study however was the strange contradiction that British people express when it comes to saving. A total of 63% of Brits say their main concern about retirement is financial hardship 56% are not saving adequately for their old age.
But despite this genuine fear and the fact that we know we're not saving enough, most people still expect to retire at 65 and 57% of people who are not retired still said they would prioritise a holiday over pension saving.
Is this a case of burying our heads in the sand? Can Britons blame the weather – if we lived in a hotter country maybe we wouldn't feel the need to go on holiday?
Joking aside, this is a serious issue. There is a sense of entitlement that we should be able to retire at 65 and live a decent lifestyle but no concerted effort to afford this.
The answer may be in the older generations. Workers, particularly those who are younger, are seeing babyboomers retiring and living brilliant lives travelling and driving sports cars. Retirees are younger in body and mind than ever.
But what young people are failing to compute is that the babyboomers have had the benefit of generous defined benefit pensions and a guaranteed pension income. Those working now will not have that luxury and will have to pay for their own retirement.
Brits need to stop lulling themselves into a false sense of security when it comes to pensions and start making up the retirement shortfall.