A report recently released by Royal London revealed that Brits earning the national average wage of £27,600 a year who saved the 8% minimum pension contribution requirement would have to work until they were 77 in order to achieve a ‘Gold Standard’ pension of two thirds of their pre-pension salary.
To reach a ‘Silver Standard' pension of half their pre-pension salary, the same earner would still have to work until they were 71, both with no breaks.
To many this is pretty damning news. The notion of slowing down in older age looks to be an outdated ideal. For most that are banking on their pension plan affording them a comfortable retirement, this is an even more unrealistic ideal.
For this reason it is imperative that you look to other means to boost your savings. Personally, I believe that people should be looking to move savings into property investment.
From my personal experience, doing this can allow you to move away from employment altogether and become financially free.
High Street savings rates may continue to plummet, pension pay-outs may continue to fall, yet property values are on the rise.
The buy-to-let market is booming in the UK, in fact it is the best it's ever been in the history of the property market.
The average rent in the UK is £743 a month, people are living longer, the UK population is rising and internal migration is rapidly growing.
Under these circumstances a buy-to-let property, if purchased shrewdly, can give you a cash flow yield of 9 to 10% NET, that's the cash from the rent.
The return you can expect to see from a pension is under half that, averaging a measly 4.3%. Please also note that on top of this a pension has no equity and does not attract capital gain.
When a property market booms, the government – any government – will look for ways to gain extra revenue from this boom and cool the property market, for fear that first time buyers will be priced out of the market.
As a result the public are done a disservice by not being made fully aware of the rewards that can be reaped by investing in this market.
I feel it is crucial the public actively seek to be educated and advised by someone with their personal financial interests at heart.
People need to take the time to look at their pension and what yield they get per annum from it.
They need to compare this plainly with what they could be making if they reinvested this into buy-to-let.
If more people really analysed their assets and evaluated the different investment options available to them they would stand a chance of making some serious financial gains.
Comparing the figures would make it clear how much can be made from buy-to-let and how little from pensions. Simply put, buy-to-let has always and will always out perform any pension plan.
This education is particularly imperative for those over the age of 55 who, following George Osborne’s pension’s freedom reform, are now eligible to access their pensions early and use this sum for buy-to-let investment.
Since these reforms, those in the know have chosen to do so. In 2015 real estate investment in 2015 in the UK becoming the most significant area of investment and amounting to a huge £700 million.
Furthermore, one in five over 55s say they are now considering using their pension to buy their retirement home early and rent it out as a means of securing an additional savings or revenue stream.
Investing in buy-to-let is by no means risk free. This risk is also likely to increase from 2017 when we will also see a reduction in tax relief on mortgage interest for higher-rate taxpayers.
The sting of hefty initial taxation for extracting large sums from your pension and the 3% stamp duty rise will most likely scare many off, nevertheless, if property investment is executed well, it can still be the most lucrative way of accruing wealth.
When bought in the right cycle, which I would emphasis we are in right at this moment, it is possible to increase the value of a property substantially and make at least 10% per year in capital gain. With a pension this is impossible.
I would suggest that for those with a little forward thinking, personal financial pro-activity and backbone, it is the most promising path to financial freedom and the only way to avoid the shackles of a lifetime of nine to five.
*Marco Robinson is an award winning entrepreneur and author of the forthcoming book 'The Financial Freedom Guarantee'