UK consumers display very low levels of engagement and knowledge when it comes to pensions and retirement, with more than half in the dark about the value of their pension and over a quarter admitting they have never checked their pension savings.

A CoreData Research study surveying 509 retail investors found 55 per cent don’t know the approximate value of their pension pot and 28 per cent have never checked their pension savings.

Furthermore, less than half (48 per cent) know how much their pension provider charges them and, more disturbingly, one in seven (14 per cent) are not even aware who their pension provider is. Nearly one in five (17 per cent) don’t know how much they are saving toward their pension.

The study also highlights high levels of consumer apathy. While a large majority (82 per cent) of people think their generation will face a more difficult retirement than current retirees, nearly half (49 per cent) are not putting any serious thought into how much money they will need when they retire.

Lack of engagement is particularly acute among the young – nearly three in 10 (28 per cent) of those under the age of 30 don’t know who their pension provider is, while nearly three-quarters (73 per cent) don’t know the approximate value of their pension pot. A majority (53 per cent) of these young investors have never checked their pension savings.

The knowledge gap is also evident when it comes to pension investments, with nearly one in two savers (42 per cent) in the dark about which funds they are invested in and one third (33 per cent) unaware of their pension investment strategy.

Although consumers demonstrate low levels of know-how, only 18 per cent describe their knowledge as poor and 14 per cent as very poor. Furthermore, levels of expertise among those claiming a strong knowledge of pensions and retirement are surprisingly poor. Of those describing their knowledge as good, one third (32 per cent) don’t know the value of their pension pot and 16 per cent have never checked their pension savings.

“These findings highlight a worrying disconnect between the degrees of knowledge consumers profess to have and their actual levels of expertise,” says Craig Phillips, head of International, CoreData Research. “The UK is in the grip of a savings crisis and it is of paramount importance that consumers start arming themselves with the information needed to make informed decisions.”

Such low levels of engagement and know-how underscore the pressing need for consumers to access financial advice. However, more than half of respondents (52 per cent) have never used a financial adviser and only 16 per cent have an ongoing relationship with an adviser. Just 2 per cent of respondents use automated/online advice, although the proportion is higher (7 per cent) among those aged under 30.

Half (51 per cent) of respondents say they are not at all likely to use the new GBP1,500 pension advice allowance.

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