A new report by Scottish Widows has found just 45% of people are placing money aside each month in preparation for their retirement, whilst 20% do not save any money at all.
The results of the provider's study, which questioned 5,200 adults as to their savings habits and retirement aspirations, reveal the true extent of the financial challenges facing many people in the UK today.
Coping with the ever-rising cost of living is the primary financial concern for 38% of respondents, who admitted to prioritising living expenses over their pension plans.
A further 28% of people claimed they were still committed to paying off existing debts, highlighting the fact that a growing number of people are relying on borrowing finance, such as credit cards and personal loans to make ends meet.
Worryingly, around 5.3 million (24%) Britons aged over 50 have a mortgage, over one in four (25%) have credit card debt and one in 10 (8%) have an unsecured loan. Of those already retired, 32% are paying off debts and, excluding mortgage debt, the average amount owed is £5,682.
Ian Naismith, pensions expert at Scottish Widows, said: "We are being hit with a triple-whammy of, firstly, continued economic uncertainty making it difficult to save for the long-term; secondly the age of first time buyers rising as we face troubles getting on the property ladder and thirdly an ageing population.
"These factors combined create a perfect storm for those heading towards retirement. Whilst we are becoming more aware of the need to save for retirement, we must do more to ensure that we have a comfortable old age," he said.
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