A new survey shows that more than two in five people in Ireland without a pension have either delayed starting one or delayed their planned retirement date due to the cost-of-living crisis.
The survey was commissioned by Pensions Awareness Week.
It also reveals that 4% of pension holders have actually cashed in their pensions in order to deal with soaring energy and other costs.
The research surveyed more than 1,000 people nationally in late August and early September of this year.
It was conducted by Behaviour & Attitudes (B&A) on behalf of Pensions Awareness Week 2022, which runs all this week from September 19 to September 23.
Pensions Awareness Week aims to raise awareness about retirement planning and to help people take charge of their long-term savings.
Some of those participating include Aviva, Irish Life, Royal London Ireland, Zurich Life, Lidl, Davy, ISME, the Pension Authority, the Retirement Planning Council of Ireland, Life Insurance Association of Ireland, Brightwater Recruitment Specialists, the Irish Association of Pension Funds, Insurance Ireland, Parents and Brands, Allen Retirement and Finance and the initiative’s founders Moneycube.ie.
Today’s survey also found that 43% of people in Ireland hold no form of pension product, with 63% of that cohort reporting that they can not afford to both save for retirement and meet their monthly bills.
That figure rises to 72% among those aged 35-49.
31% of those without a pension say they have delayed starting a pension due to the rising cost of living, and a further 11% have pushed out their retirement date for the same reason.
Of those with a pension, the increase in the cost of living has not impacted retirement savings for the large majority (69%).
But 18% have either halted their payments, delayed their planned retirement date, reduced their pension contributions, or cashed in a pension product.
Today’s survey also shows that 38% already know they will not have sufficient money saved for retirement with the same number believing they will need to work longer than they intended due to an insufficient pensions.
It also reveals that just one in ten of those without a pension have ever discussed retirement options with their workplace. And, even among those with a pension, attention to its performance is low with one in five having never checked what funds their pension is invested in.
Meanwhile, women are less likely to have a pension than men, with just 48% of women saying they have some form of pension product compared to 65% of men.
There is a also regional disparity between pension savers, with 63% of people in Dublin holding some form of pension product,. But that figure drops to 54% of people living in the rest of the country.
Ralph Benson, founder of PAW and Moneycube.ie’s Head of Financial Advice, said today’s research shows there are two sides to the story of the cost-of-living crisis.
“What’s becoming clear is its long-term effects on people’s financial security. On the one hand there are those who have a surplus each month. Despite the mounting costs of energy and other basics, they can probably survive with just minor tweaks to their finances,” he said.
“On the other, we have people for whom the margins are much tighter and so are being forced to make decisions now that will impact when they can retire and the quality of life they will enjoy when they do,” Mr Benson said.
“This research also reveals that most people haven’t checked the performance of their pension and even fewer know how much they will need in retirement. Pensions Awareness Week gives people a chance to join the conversation about building your retirement plans and check in on your financial health,” he added.