Retirement crisis predicted as Generation X aren’t saving enough

Millions of people across the UK aren’t saving enough for retirement, with Generation X at risk of falling down a savings gap, warns a leading pension provider.

In 2004, The Pensions Commission1 – set up to review UK private pensions and long-term savings – outlined that people in the UK would need a retirement income equivalent to two thirds of their working income.

Today, a new report from B&CE2, provider of The People’s Pension, based on data taken from the Wealth and Assets Survey3, found that six in 10 (61%)4 households and almost two thirds (63%) of individuals aren’t saving enough to meet that target, with a stark generational divide identified.

The report5, which includes new analysis from the Pensions Policy Institute6, also shows that two thirds (68%) of ‘Generation X’ workers, born between 1965 and 1980, and almost eight in 10 (76%) ‘Millennials’, born between 1981 and 1996, aren’t saving enough. That’s compared with just four in 10 (41%) ‘Baby Boomers’, those born between 1946 and 1964.

Self-employed gardener Jug Judge, 52, from Upper Beeding, West Sussex, doesn’t currently save for a pension.

He said: “I’m not prepared to give up a chunk of my income so that it will benefit me in 10 or 20 years’ time. I don’t think I have the wherewithal to plan for retirement and, at the moment, I consider myself very lucky that I can go out to work five or six days a week for 10 hours a day. I don’t know much about pensions and I am not the sort of character to be looking to the future.”

While Millennials largely have time to make up the shortfall, B&CE, which provides pensions to 1 in 5 workers across the UK, is warning that when Generation X retires in significant numbers, the country will face a retirement crisis. 

It is calling on the pensions industry, employers and trade unions to come together to form a consensus view on how to deal with the issue of under saving, and to produce a clear set of objectives for the UK pension system.

Phil Brown, director of policy at B&CE, said:

“Once Generation X starts to retire in large numbers, the UK could face a retirement savings crisis, with people unable to carry on with anything like their current standard of living.

“While this problem isn’t one that can be solved during the current cost of living crisis, it also shouldn’t be ignored. Government, employers and other stakeholders should look seriously at the UK’s pension framework, to gain consensus on the challenges ahead and set objectives for what sort of outcomes the state pension and workplace saving should look to achieve. 

“We would be in a much worse position if it were not for automatic enrolment, which has dramatically increased the number of people saving for retirement over the past decade, but now it’s time to ensure it reaches its full potential.”


Note to editors:

1. Pensions adequacy is often defined in terms of replacement rates; the fraction of pre-retirement income that pension income makes up in retirement. The Pensions Commission set a series of replacement rates that are the most commonly accepted definition of pensions adequacy. These replacement rates underpin the policy work that is the basis for automatic enrolment. The replacement rates vary by pre-retirement earnings as someone with a lower income will need to replace a larger fraction of income in retirement in order to reach an adequate standard of living.             

2. B&CE is a not-for-profit organisation, which provides The People’s Pension, a leading workplace pension scheme, serving nearly six million pension savers across the UK. With no shareholders, it uses its profits to help people build financial foundations for life.

3. The Wealth and Assets Survey (WAS) launched in 2006 is a biennial longitudinal survey conducted by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). It measures the well-being of households and individuals in terms of their assets, savings, debt and retirement plans.

4. These figures have been updated from a press release issued by B&CE in May this year.

5. A full copy of the report can be found here

6. The Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) does not lobby for any particular solution, and is are not a think-tank taking politically influenced views. The PPI is an educational research charity, and have been providing non-political, independent comment and analysis on pensions policy and retirement income provision in the UK for over 20 years. Its aim is to improve information and understanding about pensions policy and retirement income provision through research and analysis, discussion, and publication. For news and other information about The PPI please visit

For further details, contact Blaise Tapp, the media relations manager at B&CE, on 01293 205 004 or