What is the average pension is something our clients frequently ask us.
Whether influenced by a global pandemic or the fact we are becoming more conscious about our long-term prospects, pensions are trending.
Statistics show over 40% of Irish workers still have no pension, more and more are people are recognising their importance.
While the average pension pot in Ireland is approximately €90,000, it is a figure that does not tell the full story.
Many people are falling well below this average or worse, have no pension at all.
Although the average Irish pension is in the region of €90,000 our survey showed we would like approximately €433,000 of a pension at retirement.
That is a gap of €343,000 between what we would like to have and reality. Whether you are looking to start a pension, review a current pension, or trying to figure out what is the average at a certain age, hopefully, this blog provides some help.
It can be hard to save retirement as it can feel like a lifetime away. Yet, the reality is that our State pension system is facing uncertainty.
Ireland has an aging population. Although it is great we are living longer, healthier lives, we also need to plan so we can enjoy those extra years.
Irish Pension Statistics
The Central Statistics Office (CSO) released some interesting statistics surrounding pensions in their 2020 report.
Some of the findings included:
- Pension coverage of adults between 20 and 69 years of age is still as low as 60%.
- Pension coverage is lowest among workers aged 20-24 years.
- Of workers in an occupational pension scheme, the split is approx 33% in a Defined Benefit scheme and 63% in a Defined Contribution scheme.
- More than half (52.2%) of those with no occupational pension coverage stated their employer does not offer a scheme.
- Of those with no pension coverage, 35.3% cited affordability as one of the main reasons. 37% admitted they have not gotten a chance to organise it.
- 57.6% of workers with no pension plan to live off of the State pension during retirement.
These figures are concerning when we consider the State pension’s liabilities.
That along with the fact it is currently €248 per week. This would mean a third of Irelands population plan to live on €35 a day in retirement.
If we allow for inflation over the next 30-40 years that will be an extremely difficult task.
How Much Will I Need To Retire?
There is no universal answer when it comes to this question. However, a good rule of thumb is that your pension should be big enough to fund the lifestyle you would like.
For some of us that might be a couple of the now-infamous stay-cations. For others, you might like your retirement to involve exotic cruises around the Mediterranean.
Whichever it is, discuss your retirement with a financial advisor and give yourself plenty of time to do so.
Early planning will help you try to reduce any shortfalls that may arise further down the road.
Below look we look at some hypothetical examples of what you should aim for. These are milestones you should aim for but at the same time do not stress if you are not reaching them.
We are using them for example purposes and they are not an exact science. Plus, as we discussed already, everyone will have different needs and circumstances.
What is the average pension pot at 30?
A good rule of thumb from a recent study is that you should aim to have 1 x your salary by age 30.
This might sound a little far-fetched and aspirational which is fine. We know the average wage in Ireland is approximately €41,600. Therefore, your aim for your pension pot at 30 years of age should be €40,000 give or take.
Before starting, it is important to note that for simplicity we will ignore the fact your salary will rise as your career progresses.
This will of course have an impact on your overall pension pot and ideally, you will be able to contribute more as you get older.
You will also be eligible for higher rates of tax relief the older you get.
What is the average pension pot at 40?
If we work in intervals of 10 years, the study suggests that you should aim for 3 x your salary.
This would give us approximately €124,800 in our pension pot by age 40.
What is the average pension pot at 50?
As you approach age 50, the milestone is having 5 x your salary.
This will leave you with approximately €208,000 in your pension pot.
What is the average pension pot at 60?
At age 60, we will begin to get a good gauge of where your benefits may be at retirement. From here you can begin to analyse fund performance and pension contributions in more detail.
As we get older, we are entitled to contribute a higher percentage of our salary and receive tax relief. The below table shows how these thresholds work.
|Age||Contribution limits for tax relief | Percentage of net earnings|
|60 and over||40%|
(source: Pensions Authority)
It is worth noting that there is a maximum annual amount of earnings that are eligible for tax relief. This figure is €115,000.
Ideally, as we progress in life we will have more disposable income. Contributing to your pension is a tax-efficient way of helping you save for retirement.
By age 60, having 8 x that original salary we spoke about would put you in an excellent position.
With the help of your advisor, discuss the tax benefits and reliefs available through your pension.
What is the average pension pot at 67?
As you approach retirement age, the goal would be to have 10 x times your salary in your pension pot.
This will give you approximately €416,000 in your pension pot. Our survey showed that Irish people wanted to have on average €433,000 in their pension pot at retirement.
Am I on the Right Track?
Again, it is worth mentioning the above figures are a guideline. There is no one-size-fits-all and the retirement lifestyle you would like may require a fraction of the above.
However, the only way to ensure you are on track is by regularly reviewing your pension.
If you would like to assess your options, we offer a complimentary consultation.
During this consultation, you can ask any questions you may have and discuss whether you are on the right track. Most clients prefer a phone call at the beginning but a video call or in-person consultation are also options.
How long will my pension last in retirement?
There is no universal answer to this question. It will depend on several factors such as:
- How big your pension pot is.
- How well your pension has performed from an investment perspective.
- What retirement lifestyle you would like.
- What the levels of inflation are.
The above are some of the things that will impact how long your pension will last. However, we have written about this subject in more depth which you may find useful.
Just as with the average pension in Ireland, there are many variables at play. Speaking to a Qualified Financial Advisor and assessing all potential options is always a smart way to approach the situation.
Reviewing My Pension
A regular review of your pension will allow you to plan for retirement.
As we see from the figures above, our survey showed that a significant amount of people have never had their pension reviewed.
That is a bit like driving with a destination in mind but no strategy of how to get there. You might have good intentions of hitting a certain pension figure at retirement but without a regular review, it will be difficult.
An annual review with your financial advisor will help ensure you hit your pension milestones along the way.
Pension Review Process
The process of reviewing your pension is quite simple. We offer a complimentary consultation. This is an easy way for you to chat with one of our advisors and assess your options.
During the review process, your advisor may look at some of the following aspects:
- Ensuring your current investment strategy aligns with your risk appetite.
- Are you are currently on track to reach your goals?
- Do you have any other pension arrangements?
- Have you any other investments in place?
This review allows you and your advisor to take a holistic look at your finances. Your pension will be one part of the puzzle.
Fees & Charges
If not monitored, the fees and charges associated with your pension can have a dramatic impact over time.
Some of the terms you may hear associated with your pension are:
- AMC – This refers to the Annual Management Charge by the life insurance company to the policyholder.
- Allocation Rate – This is the percentage of your money that is used to buy units in a pension or other investment. For example, an allocation of 98% would mean for every €100 you invest, €98 is used to buy units.
- Policy Fee – A fee charged by your insurance company. For example, this may be €5 per month.
Keep an eye on each of the above. The pensions industry is full of acronyms so it is important to understand each.
If you are unsure of anything, our team would be happy to help.
At what age can I access my pension?
Again, this will depend on various factors. Different scheme types will have different rules associated with them.
- Occupational scheme – Age 50 (dependant on scheme rules and employer consent)
- PRSA – Age 60 (can be reduced to age 50 in some cases)
- Personal Pensions – Age 60 ( can be reduced to age 50 when you are an employee leaving service)
How much of my pension can I access?
Depending on the scheme and type of pension you have, many are eligible to access 25% of your pension benefits tax-free at retirement. The maximum you can access as a tax-free lump sum is €200,00.
This is a total lifetime limit even if lump sums are taken at different times and from different pension arrangements.
Any lump sums between €200,001 and €500,000 are taxed at 20%. Any balance over this amount is taxed at your marginal rate and is subject to USC.
If you were part of a Defined Benefit (DB) occupational pension scheme, you may be able to access a percentage of final remuneration as a lump sum.
If you are unsure of what category you fall into, feel free to contact our team for assistance.
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What are the next steps?
We have provided information throughout this blog of some milestones you can aim for. However, we all have different needs and circumstances.
The figures we used should be considered ballpark and are not an exact formula. When we surveyed people back in February, and we found the average pension respondents would like was approximately €433,000.
This may seem like quite a large amount but not over a long period of time. If we assumed our retirement was going to be 25 years, that €433,000 is only €17,320 per year.
This is without taking inflation into account. As of late, we as a country are beginning to see the importance of pensions. The State pension system has huge liabilities and it would be a foolhardy approach to have it as your only source of income.
Even if the State pension system survives, you will still be living on €35 a day. Any sort of bills or basic living expenses will eat into that immediately and not leave much behind.
It is never too late to start a pension. Contact our team today and begin assessing your options.
Your future self will thank you for it.
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*This blog should be used for information only and not taken as financial advice.