UK workers are lagging behind their European peers when it comes to retirement saving, research by M&G Wealth revealed.
A quarter of Brits (24%) said they are saving as much as they can every month, but a larger portion of Europeans (in France, Italy, Germany and Spain) are doing so, with the Spanish leading the way at 31%.
UK respondents reported affordability as the biggest barrier they face when it comes to saving more, as a third are unable to put more money aside – significantly higher than those in a similar situation in Italy (22%), Germany and Spain (both 27%).
With the cost of living crisis impacting virtually every single household in the UK, nearly a fifth (18%) are having to rethink their retirement plans and continue working beyond their state pension age. According to M&G Wealth, this is a much bigger concern for women (21%) than it is for men (15%).
But when it comes to saving, men in the UK seem to be more active, with 27% having an Isa they use to put money aside for retirement, while just 18% of women doing the same.
Even more worryingly, just 9% of women surveyed has set up a private pension, in comparison 17% of men has one.
A similar trend was true for increased workplace pension contributions – 11% for women and 16% for men. Yet in France and Italy, half as many women as men increased their pension contributions.
Despite lower levels of savings, however, M&G Wealth found the Brits and Spaniards are the most likely to seek financial advice compared with their European counterparts – 20% and 23%, respectively.
Kirsty Anderson, pensions expert at M&G Wealth, said: “Balancing saving for the future against short-term spending needs is always a challenge and, with rising inflation continuing to diminish people’s savings and spending power, it’s only getting tougher.
“The reality is that many in the UK are telling us they simply can’t afford to save more for retirement but, even when cash is tight, there are some simple things you can do to help secure your financial future.
“These include topping up your workplace pension, if you can. Even a small amount each month will make a difference and your employer may match your contributions. It’s also worth taking a look at where your pension savings are held. If you’ve got a number of small pensions from previous workplaces, you might be able to bring them together to make them work harder for you.
“And something that still tends to affect women disproportionally is making sure, if you can, that you keep contributing to your pension when you go on any career breaks, perhaps to look after children or elderly relatives, or that you top it up when you return to work.
“Regularly reviewing your savings has never been more important and talking to a professional adviser to learn more about your pension and, crucially, your projected retirement income can help inform and shape broader life decisions.”