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Brits don’t care about saving for retirement. Uh-oh.

Researchers asked young Brits what they’d do with £25k, and as many would gamble with it as put it in a pension pot.

What it means: It’s pretty common for economic policies to be promoted as the best way to make us all richer. While not everyone agrees that we should focus on improving the money in our pocket above our wellbeing, the way that many economies around the world operate means that having more cash can (for better or worse) often mean having access to a better quality of life.

But research on what we’d do with a £25,000 windfall has shown that we might not use extra money in the most savvy way. Only 5 percent of adults say they’d pop the £25,000 in their pension pot, half the amount that would spend it on a holiday. And the problem is even worse for 18-24 years, who were as likely (2 percent) to say they’d blow it all in a casino as put it aside for their golden years.

Why might this be a problem? Well, at the moment all of us can expect to live at least twelve years after we stop working (the retirement age is going up to 67 from 2028, and UK life expectancy is 79 for men and 83 for women) and during that time we’ll need to pay for things like food and housing and energy bills, as well as some fun stuff. And most of us don’t have anything like enough money put aside to fund that.

Many people think the government will cover these costs, but there’s a growing worry that the state pension costs too much money to be sustainable: it already uses up 7.4 percent of our national income, and the number of retirees is growing. At the same time, our workplaces are also becoming much less generous with their pension schemes. The upshot is that if we don’t save more ourselves, we’re risking having a less comfortable old age than we’d like.

Read our explainers on the cost of living and economic decision making.

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Reader Comments

  • RW

    Your right to a degree. You mentioned “the wandering Jew”.

    I elaborate that the Jewish people, historically have tended to migrate almost exclusively to locations that are economically and culturally vibrant already. I would speculate that Jews have thrived in these places and have often improved the bounds of their economies and knowledge base.

    You can also ask; how many massive entertainment conglomerates, Nobel winners or billionaires has Isreal developed? If Jews are so capable, why isn’t Tel Aviv the Rome of our time?

    Jews are successful because they value education, maintain a strong social cohesive, they actively monitor and have a good sense for Zeitgeist wherever they are and they carefully choose the places they settle and congregate themselves heavily in these choice locations.

    But most importantly (haulocaust increased the importance of this aspect), they actually designed their culture for success. They not only attend Harvard, they use what they learned to better the group as a whole. With as much, they studied intricate networking systems, adapted to it and in many cases improved upon them. (See how Japan acquired Aegis warships and made them better).

    Of course there is nothing wrong with any of this. It’s when you elaborately gain disproportionate power in any society where you would stand out, you must take care when attempting to make a society better (Civil Rights movement) and rewriting that society all together (mass immigration). Ask blacks in China, Mexico, Philippines or India how much opportunity they have? Go to businesses owned by their American diaspora and see how many blacks they hire. Go to Silicon Valley and see how many East or South Asian tech workers wish they could work with more black people. California might work as a state, but as a nation, I think your rolling the nuclear dice here. I hope we can succeed as a tolerant pluralistic superpower but at this stage in human societal development, it’s a pipe dream.

    And if Jews really are the icon for success, they would see that fundamental human successes happen over generations. Just look at the rest of the planet? Are we ready?