• Figure rises to 79% of 55–64-year-olds
  • Women less likely than men to know what they’ve built in pension savings
  • Women expect to need £10,000 less per year in retirement than men
  • Standard Life provides tips to boost people’s knowledge around their retirement funds

Three in four people (75%) don’t know how much they have in pension savings, according to research1 by Standard Life, part of Phoenix Group, which highlights a greater need to engage consumers with their retirement funds.

Standard Life’s Retirement Voice study, conducted among almost 6,000 consumers, found there is a similar lack of knowledge about pension pot amounts across age groups. Perhaps most worryingly as many as 79% of those aged between 55 and 64, who are likely to be at the most crucial stage of retirement planning as they start to look at their options for life after work, can’t put a figure on their pension pot:

Age in years % that can put a figure on how much they have in pension savings % that cannot put a figure on how much they have in pension savings
65 - 80 23 77
55 - 64 21 79
45 - 54 21 79
35 - 44 25 75
25 - 34 29 71
18 - 24 35 65

The research also highlighted that women are less likely to know what they’ve saved up than men (81% don’t have a number in mind, compared to 68% of men). People tend to have some awareness of how much income they will need in retirement - respondents of all age groups and genders put more than the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association's income needed for a minimum standard of living - but noticeably women estimate considerably less, £22,428 versus £32,617 for men.

When it comes to how much people want to save by retirement age, income makes a big difference. Those surveyed with a personal income of less than £30,000 want to save £139,428, compared to £309,755 for those earning between £40,000 and £49,999. There’s a massive increase for higher earners – people surveyed earning above £50,000 want to save £821,880, over £682,000 more than the lowest earners.

Dean Butler, Managing Director for Customer at Standard Life, commented:

Generation and gender

“Given the increased responsibility individuals now hold for their own pension savings, it’s worrying that the majority can’t estimate how much they’ve got in their pot – particularly those who are approaching or even in retirement now. Interestingly, younger generations are more likely to know how much they’ve saved so far. This may be because they are at the start of their working lives and are a bit more conscious of what comes in and out each month, and they are likely to have less pots to keep track of. Despite its huge success, auto-enrolment along with the fact UK workers tend to change jobs more regularly now has meant many workers further into their careers have multiple small pots – younger workers, in most cases, won’t have this issue. They might also be more used to a world in which long-term saving is entirely down to them – unlike older workers, it’s all they’ve ever known.”

“The gender disparity seems to echo what we already know about the gender pension gap – women are likely to earn less throughout their lifetime, often because of leaving the workforce or going part-time for caring responsibilities and as a result they save less for retirement. It seems likely that this has caused women to engage less with their pension pots, leading to a lack of knowledge around how much they’ve saved.”

Staying on top of your pot

“In order to plan your financial future, it’s vital to engage with your finances as early as possible. The best place to start is by checking what you currently have in your pension, and what this could equate to in retirement, and there are tools and calculators that can help with this. From there, you can see whether your current funds will provide the type of Retirement Lifestyle you want and, if not, you can make changes to improve your situation, such as increasing regular contributions or paying in a lump sum. You may need to make lifestyle changes to accommodate this, such as cutting back on everyday spending, so it’s important to take a holistic view of your finances to see what’s possible in both the short and long term.”

Dean Butler at Standard Life shares tips to boost knowledge of your pension pot:

  • How do I check how much is currently in my pot? “You should receive an annual statement from any workplace and personal pensions – this will be sent to you by your provider. If you don’t receive a statement, then you can ask for one. Make sure your provider has the right contact details for you so that you are able to receive relevant information.

    “You can often also access your pension details online, if you’ve set up an account, or through your provider’s app.”
  • How can I see what my pension pot might be worth in retirement? “Your annual statements will provide an estimate of your future pot value, and the regular retirement income your pension is on track to generate. This is based on you using your pension pot to buy a guaranteed income for life (known as an annuity), although there are other ways to access your savings.
  • How do I check what I’m contributing to my pension, and can I make top-up payments? “You can check what you contribute to any personal, workplace or self-employed pensions through your pension statement. You can also make any additional payments into your pension at any time you like. To top up your private or workplace pension, you can usually make both regular contributions and one-off lump sum payments.
  • Can I find out how much my current pension pot might be worth in future? If you save money into a pension plan, it’s worth knowing if your savings are on track to help you afford your ideal lifestyle after you stop working. Many providers offer pension calculators that can help you decide if your current pension payments will be enough to fund your retirement lifestyle. It can also help you see if you need to start saving more.”





Sarah Muir
07870 397537

James Merrick
Standard Life
07713 918949


Notes to editors:

1 - Boxclever conducted research among 6,000 UK adults. Fieldwork was conducted 6th Sept – 16th October 2022. Data was weighted post-fieldwork to ensure the data remained nationally representative on key demographics.
Comparisons to data from last year are taken from Boxclever research among 4,896 UK adults conducted between 16th and 23rd July 2021.


About Standard Life

  • Standard Life is a brand that has been trusted to look after peoples' life savings for nearly 200 years
  • Today it proudly serves millions of customers who come to Standard Life directly, through advisers and through their employers' pension scheme.
  • Standard Life is part of Phoenix Group, the largest long-term savings and retirement business in the UK. We're proud to be building on nearly 200 years of Standard Life heritage together
  • Our products include a variety of Pensions, Bonds and Retirement options to suit people's needs, helping our customers to invest and save for their future. We're proud to offer a leading range of sustainable and responsible investment options.
  • We support our customers on their journey to and through retirement with comprehensive, easy-to-understand guidance so they can invest in the right way for their needs, and plan a future they feel confident about
  • The value of investments can go down as well as up and may be worth less than originally invested.

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