Official statisticians reveal what Britons think will make them the most money for later years

Oliver Gill
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The survey indicates that Britons are unwilling to accept property is not the best way to go (Source: Getty)

Britons think the best way to save for retirement is to invest in property rather than a pension scheme, according to research by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Although respondents to the ONS survey admitted that an employer pension scheme was a safer way to save, nearly half felt that investing in bricks and mortar was best way to maximise returns. Only 25 per cent of people thought that a pension scheme was a preferable choice.

Read more: Experts slam Bank of England chief economist

The news further undermines advice by specialists that pension schemes, not property, is the best way to prepare for retirement.

In August, experts were shocked to hear that the Bank of England chief economist Andy Haldane had advocated investing in property rather than a pension scheme. His comments appeared to be a direct contradiction of government initiatives to encourage Britons to save for later using employer schemes.

At the time, Tom McPhail of Hargreaves Lansdown labelled Haldane's comments as "irresponsible" and expressed his concern when reflecting on the latest survey.

“Far too many people are under the illusion that property will be the goose that lays the golden egg in retirement," he said.

The reality is much different according to McPhail. There is considerable danger in not diversifying investments and if a property investment goes wrong it could wipe out all of your retirement savings. Yet despite warnings from politicians and experts alike, the survey shows that this advice is not being heeded.

"Unfortunately many [people] may find out to their cost that they end up having too many eggs in one basket," McPhail said.

Read more: Shares or property? New research shows the better retirement option

Earlier this month, analysis by financial advisers AJ Bell showed that pension scheme investment returns outstripped those that could be realised from the purchase of one property. Only by purchasing three properties, and with it taking out sizable mortgages, could returns in the property sector slightly outperform those achieved by a portfolio of shares.

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