Almost half of generation x look to property to finance retirement - including nearly two million who have yet to climb onto the property ladder | PLSA

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Almost half of generation x look to property to finance retirement - including nearly two million who have yet to climb onto the property ladder

12 April 2017

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has today published research highlighting that nearly half (47%) of 35-54 year olds (Generation X) or 8.3 million people in the UK are planning to use property to help finance their retirement.

However, 23% or 1.9 million people within this group have yet to buy a property which suggests that some may be basing their future financial security on an asset they may never own. A further breakdown of age groups in Generation X reveal that 36% of 35-44s who have yet to buy their first home feel they will be able to use this asset in retirement while 14% of 45-54s who have yet to climb on the property ladder agree.

Other statistics revealed that 54% of Generation X don’t think much about retirement income but generally think it will work out OK in the end, and around half are too busy worrying about day-to-day living costs to think about their retirement income (51%).

Reliance on property projected to be higher in the East and London:

Figures from across the UK indicate that reliance on using unowned property greatest in the east (14%) and lowest in Yorkshire and The Humber (2%). In London, where property prices are the highest in the country, an estimated 330,000 people (13%) are planning to fund their retirement with property they are yet to buy.

 Region Estimate Generation X population (rounded to the nearest 100,000) % who don’t own property but plan to use it to finance retirement
The North 2,600,000 12
The Midlands 2,800,000 9
Yorkshire & Humber 1,400,000 2
The East 1,700,000 14
London 2,500,000 13
South East 2,500,000 8
South West 1,400,000 9
Scotland 1,500,000 12
UK 17,600,000 11

Graham Vidler, Director of External Affairs, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association, said:

“Over eight million people between the ages of 35 and 54 intend to use property to help finance their retirement. Given the significant house price growth that we have seen, this might seem an entirely sensible addition to their pension. However of this group, two million people have yet to even take their first step onto the property ladder which is a real concern and suggests they are basing their future financial security on an unrealised ambition.

“In addition, over half of Generation X admit they have no plan, or a vague plan of how they will finance their retirement (57%) which is also incredibly worrying. The majority of Generation X find themselves in the unenviable position of being too young to benefit from generous defined benefit pension schemes and too old to receive the full benefits of automatic enrolment.

“They need support in understanding how their pension, property and any other savings might top up their state pension to give them a decent income in retirement. Government should assess the best ways for Generation X to engage with retirement income planning and, in particular, consider whether interventions related to key life events, such as a mid-life financial health check, would result in better outcomes.”

Additional Research:

Last year, the PLSA published research analysing the incomes different UK generations can expect in retirement. ‘Retirement Income Adequacy: Generation by Generation’ revealed Generation X typically did not save into a pension during their early working lives and are only just now starting to save through automatic enrolment. Consequently, this generation may need to work longer and utilise other assets, such as property, to generate a higher retirement income. The PLSA worked in collaboration with Hymans Robertson using their Guided Outcomes methodology®.





We’re the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association; the national association with a ninety year history of helping pension professionals run better pension schemes. Our members include over 1,300 pension schemes with 20 million members and £1 trillion in assets, and over 400 businesses. They make us the voice for pensions and lifetime savings in Westminster, Whitehall and Brussels.

Our purpose is simple: to help everyone to achieve a better income in retirement. We work to get more money into retirement savings, to get more value out of those savings and to build the confidence and understanding of savers.


Lee Blackwell, Head of Media & PR, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association
T: 020 7601 1726, M: 07713 073 023, E: [email protected]

Babak Mayamey, PR Manager, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association
T: 020 7601 1718, M: 07825 171 446, E: [email protected]

Kathryn Mortimer, Press Officer, Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association
T: 020 7601 1748, M: 07901 007 713, E: [email protected] 

The PLSA commissioned ICM Unlimited to conduct a consumer poll of 18-39 year olds in Britain. ICM Research interviewed 895 British adults aged between 18-35 online between 31st March and 2nd April 2017. Data were weighted by region, gender, age and socio-economic grade to be representative of all British adults aged 18-39.

Unprompted awareness – respondents were asked “are you aware of any new government backed financial products for saving being launched in April 2017?” without any reference being made to the Lifetime ISA. Those who said yes were asked if the product they had been thinking about was the LISA. Where respondents said that it was the LISA they had been aware of they are regarded as having an unprompted awareness of the LISA.