30- and 40-somethings will 'rely on inheritance' for retirement

People and coins

Today's 30- and 40-somethings will be the first generation since the Second World War to be financially worse off in retirement than their parents.

A new pension study published by the Institute of Fiscal Studies has warned of the plight facing Brits borns in the 1960s and 70s.

The findings indicate that although each cohort since 1945 has enjoyed better living standards and higher incomes than its predecessor, that upward trend has stalled over the past decade.

Those aged 40 today are no better off than 40 year olds were in 2003. This reflects the fact that they spent more and saved less at a younger age than did previous generations.

The IFS study shows that those born in the 1960s and 70s are less likely to own a property. Only two thirds of those born in the 1970s are on the housing ladder, compared with up to 80% of those born in the 1940s and 50s.

The state pension they receive will also be smaller relative to previous earnings; and they are also likely to be harder hit than older cohorts as a result of employers' move away from more generous final salary pension schemes to defined contribution schemes.

The best hope for this generation of a comfortable retirement is through an increase in inherited wealth. The IFS finds only 28% of those born in the early 1940s received or expect to receive an inheritance, compared with 70% of those born in the late 1970s.

Find the best annuity rate for your circumstances

Full transparency

"Younger cohorts are likely to have to rely on inheritances to be better off in retirement than their predecessors. But inheritances are unequally distributed, with households that are already relatively wealthy far more likely to benefit,' says IFS economist Andrew Hood.

In response to the "worrying' IFS report, shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont is reiterating Labour's call for "amendments to the Pensions Bill to put the interests of savers first, with full transparency on all costs and charges and more effective competition in the annuities market".

Steve Wilkie, managing director of retirement specialist Responsible Life, believes the report should serve as a reality check for those counting on an inheritance to see them through retirement.

"The reality is that care costs will eat up most of their elderly parents" wealth long before they can leave it to them," he says.

On Monday MPs debated the Care Bill, which proposes the introduction of a £72,000 cap on care costs for the elderly.

This article was written for our sister website Money Observer

More about