Sentiment survey suggests consumers’ pension planning falls very short of retirement goals


The KBC Bank Ireland consumer sentiment survey for September 2020 contained a special supplement focused on consumers’ understanding, aims and actions in relation to their personal pension circumstances.

Among the key findings of the survey are:

Irish consumers have a very strong sense of what they want to do in retirement but are far less certain if they will be able to fund it.

  • Taking up or spending more time on hobbies, travelling and spending time with friends and family are the favoured retirement outcomes, with only 3% of Irish consumers planning not to retire
  • Only 21% of consumers expect to enjoy a financially comfortable retirement….
  • ...while 24% expect retirement finances will be adequate….
  • ...but 35% envisage financial difficulties….
  • and 21% don’t know or haven’t considered the financial implications of retirement

Roughly half of consumers expect they will rely primarily on a State pension in retirement with a similar number envisaging a drop in their spending power when they retire

  • 47% of consumers expect the State pension to be their main source of income in retirement while 18% will rely primarily on a personal pension and 15% don’t know or haven’t considered the issue.
  • 53% of consumers think their spending power will drop in retirement with a fall of less than 25% the most common expectation

Only one in three consumers without a pension plan say they can’t afford one with a similar number saying they haven’t thought about it or don’t know enough about pensions

  • Just 34% of consumers without pensions say it’s because they can’t afford one but another 16% say it’s because they have other financial priorities
  • 23% say it’s because they haven’t considered getting a pension and another 14% say they don’t know enough about pension

Buying a home and repaying the mortgage are more important saving priorities than a pension for most age groups

  • 29% of consumers cite repaying borrowings as the most important priority when considering saving, while 22% prioritise buying or refurbishing a home
  • Saving for a pension is the priority of 18% of consumers, broadly similar to the 17% citing saving to fund education
  • Saving for a pension only becomes the number one priority for those aged 55 and over  

Covid-19 financial hit fuels concerns that retirement may be delayed further

  • 29% of consumers think they may have to retire later than they expected, while 37% see no impact and 31% are unsure
  • Covid-19 financial concerns most pronounced among the under 35’s
  • Some 15% say retirement plans already affected, with these adjustments most pronounced among those now at retirement age