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Americans more realistic than Brits about retirement

Brits have unrealistic expectations about when they will be able to retire compared to Americans, according to the boss of a US firm.

More than eight in 10 US citizens are now prepared to retire at age 70, a new study from the American Center for Retirement Research shows.

According to Nigel Green, chief executive at deVere Group, one of the world's largest independent financial advisers, Brits need to take a lead from this and get real about when they can retire.

Green said: "Most American workers now accept they will have to work past 65 so they can accumulate sufficient savings to be able to enjoy a high standard of living in retirement.

"Brits want the same financially secure retirement although the majority also fully expects to retire by 65. This is wholly unrealistic because most Brits, like Americans, haven't saved nearly enough for this to be a reality in today's world.

Brits not putting enough aside

"Indeed, almost every study carried out in the UK this year suggests that nearly half the population isn't putting enough aside."

And while many Brits may not welcome such comment, it is hard to disagree when looking at research published in the last month alone.

For example, one in five Britons are without any rainy-day savings whatsoever, according to research from Santander. This equals 11 million people, or 22 per cent of the UK adult population.

Over the past year, the average monthly savings deposit amount has also fallen 7 per cent. In 2011, Britons were depositing an average of £112 per month, a figure that has now dropped to £105.

'Lost savings'

Further evidence that many of us may need to take saving more seriously can be seen in new research from one of the largest savings organisations in the UK, National Savings and Investments (NS&I).

Despite rising living costs, NS&I says Britons are still losing track of their savings and almost 8 million people say they have investments and savings accounts which they can’t locate.

A lack of organisation and forgetfulness is being blamed for many losing track of their finances in the first place.

Of those who have lost touch with their savings and investments, more than a quarter – 28 per cent - have misplaced their original account details.

Meanwhile, a fifth have forgotten to update their address when they moved house and have lost track of their account as a result and nearly a quarter were given savings or investments as a child, but have never found out the full details of the account.

Retirement income

Such findings paint a worrying picture for many Brits when it comes to their retirement income, especially considering Green’s belief that nest eggs need to be significantly larger than they did a generation ago.

He says this is because people are living longer and have higher expectations of a fun-filled retirement.

Green added: "Additionally, what we can expect to receive from the state in the future is far less than what we do now.

"Also, living costs are increasing, interest rates are low, and various age-related allowances are being scrapped.

"It's clear that if Brits still aspire to stop working at 65, there needs to be a dynamic change of the UK's saving culture."

According to Green, the most effective way to get people to want to save is for the state and the financial services industry to join forces and promote the idea of seeking professional financial advice.

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Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley

Adam Jolley is a content producer at He joined us in May 2012 from the world of financial services PR.

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