More than a third of Brits are failing to save for retirement as pensions crisis looms

More than a third of Britons say they have no plans to save for their retirement, according to research conducted by information company Nielsen.

The 37 per cent of UK consumers who are making no contingency for their old age far outstrips the 22 per cent of people globally who are failing to save for retirement.

Commenting on the figures, Nielsen's senior vice president for financial services in Europe Eleni Nicholas, said:

Our analysis shows the British are engaging in activity to meet, on average, just two-and-a-half financial goals, compared to four goals globally.

Although retirement is high up on Britons' lists, it's still much less of a thought than it is around the world.

The numbers released by Nielsen present a worrying picture for Britain's economic health given the demographic challenges posed to the UK over the medium to long term.

The proportion of people over the age of 65 is set to increase from 17 per cent to 24 per cent over the next 50 years. The cost of long term and pensioner benefits is also projected to total 12.4 per cent of GDP - a 50 per cent increase from current levels.

The situation is especially concerning when one examines the UK's dysfunctional pensions system.

A recent report by Policy Exchange warned that 11m people are at risk of "pensioner poverty." The report suggested that someone earning the average wage (£27,000) may have to save six times as much as they do at the now to meet the government's recommended retirement income of £16,200.

The report recommended removing the opt-out in the existing auto-enrolment plan as well as increasing individual contributions as incomes rise. However, the situation may be even more dire than Policy Exchange suggests. According to retirement director at Fidelity Alan Higham someone on £29,000 needs to save 29 per cent of pay over £5,668 for 40 years to retire at 65.

To address the UK's looming pensions crisis, experts have suggested Britain should look to the Australian-style points based system. The Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) recently advocated such a system where employers allocate nine per cent of employees' pre-tax earnings into a personal fund.

To tackle the state pension time bomb the IEA also recommended exempting older workers from employment protection legislation and linking retirement with life expectancy amongst a host of other measures.