More than half of us would rather miss saving goals than take any risk to secure a better financial return, according to new research.
In fact, 52% of people would rather suffer a shortfall in their savings pot than take an investment risk in order to improve their financial future, a survey by The Pensions Institute at Cass Business School, Santander and Moody's found.
In a sign of 'reckless conservatism', according to the researchers, only 10% were willing to increase risk in return for potential gains.
Nearly 20% of those questioned said they would feel very uncomfortable accepting any reduction in the value of their investments, while 60% would be very uncomfortable if they saw a loss of 10%.
Director of the Pensions Institute Professor David Blake said: "The findings from our survey have important implications for savers. We find that savers do not tend to think about risk in an integrated way, especially when it comes to long-term risk.
"It is important that savers recognise that they might have behavioural barriers which means they might fail in their saving goals."
No financial planning
Speaking at the launch of the survey, Blake added that people tend to underestimate how long they are going to live for and as a result don't make adequate financial plans for their retirement.
"It seems most people cannot think 10, 15, 20 years ahead," he said.
"People need to save far more for their retirement and we have lost the saving habit in this country. The problem was easy borrowing. As a country we are just not saving any where near enough for our retirement.
"The next generation can expect a sharp fall in their standard of living. It is very hard to get that message across when borrowing is so easy."
To help people retire comfortably, the research suggests they must be encouraged to plan and save enough for the longer term and made aware that controlled investment risk is the only way to meet their long-term saving goals.