UK worst in Western Europe for pensioner poverty

Pensions / Retirement
Approaching Retirement
Joe Phelan's picture
Study reveals the shocking number of UK pensioners living below the poverty line.

Latest research from The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has revealed the stunning statistic that one in eight (13%) UK pensioners lives in poverty.

The OECD’s ‘Pensions at a Glance 2015’ report, published in December, revealed that the UK has a greater percentage of pensioners living in poverty than Germany (9%), Sweden (9%), Italy (9%), Ireland (7%), Spain (7%), and France (4%).

The results mean the UK is ranked as the worst nation in Western Europe when it comes to social equity, which the report defines as half the relevant country's median household income.

Not only does the UK have Western Europe’s highest percentage of pensioners living in poverty, it is also graded below the OECD’s average of 12.6%. Additionally, the study found that in 2011 the UK spent only 5.6% of its GDP on old-age benefits, far below the OECD average of 7.9%.

While the government is likely to face mounting pressure here, financial advisers also have a key role to play in helping more people retire comfortably. is the UK’s leading consumer review site for financial advisers. Alex Whitson, the company’s CMO, said: “We have witnessed a 51% uplift in pension-related enquiries over the last 12 months, a trend we are expecting to continue as 2016’s new pension rules draw near.

“It is vitally important that consumers are aware of what these pension changes will mean for them so they can ensure they have appropriate plans in place.”

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The need for proactive retirement planning is underlined by wealth manager Catriona McCarron of Ascot Wealth Management.

“This research reinforces our view that retirement planning should be at the forefront of working individuals’ financial planning. Not only does pension planning help to fund retirement, but it is also a tax-efficient saving vehicle for those that are employed.

“By speaking to a financial adviser, savers can learn more about specific tax benefits while preparing and planning a strategy that will see them financially content in old age.”


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