UK workers would rather splurge on holiday than save for old age

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By Sarah Mortimer | February 20, 2013 11:21 AM EST

More than half of British workers would rather spend spare cash on a holiday than save it for their retirement, a survey from banking group HSBC said on Wednesday.

Some 58 percent of employees in Britain would choose to pay for a holiday over retirement if they could afford to save for only one of these options in a year. This was a higher percentage than in the other countries surveyed in the bank's latest The Future of Retirement report.

In Britain, only 38 percent of workers are regularly putting money aside for retirement, according to the HSBC study, based on data from more than 15,000 people in 15 countries.

Out of the 15 countries surveyed, only Egypt had fewer retirement savers than Britain with 29 percent.

The countries with the highest percentage of savers were Taiwan and India with 67 percent and 62 percent respectively.

HSBC's report pointed to data from the United Nations showing that the number of people over the age of 60 would match those under the age of 15 by 2050, with retirees making up around 1-in-5 people on the planet.

"People are living longer, through tougher economic times, but expectations about their standard of living in retirement remain unchanged," Simon Williams, group head of wealth management at HSBC, said.

"As a result, millions of people around the world are facing years of hardship after their savings run out."

Currently, nearly half of workers covered in the HSBC's survey have never saved towards their retirement.

In Britain, the government is trying to address the shortfall in pension savings with an "auto-enrolment" scheme to get more people into a workplace pension.

Countries surveyed in HSBC's report, which is published regularly, were Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States.

(Reporting by Sarah Mortimer. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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