Despite the Retail Distribution Review in the UK, over half of working age adults in the UK still do not have a plan for their finances in retirement, according to research from the Money & Pension Service.

The RDR was put into place at the end of 2012 to improve transparency in financial advice and lift professional standards.

The UK Adult Financial Wellbeing Survey 2021: Future Focus research found 52 per cent of working age adults do not have a plan for their finances in retirement, falling from 56 per cent in 2018.

The biggest demographic change was younger people (18- to 24-year olds). In 2018, 74 per cent had “no plan” which fell to 59 per cent in the latest survey, in line with the rest of the working age population.

“This may be in part due to the role out of auto-enrolment over the period 2012 to 2018,” the report said.

“Since 2018 there has also been a corresponding increase in the number of young people (aged 18-24) paying into a pension (up from 41 per cent to 48 per cent).”

The report was based on interviews from the summer of 2021 in the UK when Covid-19 restrictions were relaxed but cost of living pressures had started to increase.

The survey found most did not have a plan for retirement – six in ten of those aged 18 to 49 do not, falling  to four in 10 for those aged 55 to 65.

“Financial wellbeing is about feeling secure and in control of your finances both now and in the future,” the report said.

“It is knowing that you can pay your bills today, can deal with the unexpected and are on track for a healthy financial future in retirement. Planning for retirement and later life is important, but many adults living in the UK are still not doing so.”


Analysis from the research also noted a clear link between planning finances for retirement and understanding enough to make decisions.

The survey found 56 per cent had “interacted” with their pension over the last 12 months which was defined by methods such as reviewing their pension online or reading their annual statement.

Just over three quarters surveyed said they do not understand enough to make decisions about retirement and do not have a financial plan for later life.