Which UK cities are the most pension savvy?

Nearly three quarters (72%) of Liverpool residents were unable to correctly define what a personal pension is
Which UK cities are the most pension savvy?
September 2019

As part of Pension Awareness Day on September 15th, experts are promoting the importance of saving for the future and why Brits need to save more for retirement. And with previous research from Portafina confirming that a third (32%) of UK adults1 admit to not taking their pension seriously as they find it confusing, the pension advice specialist has now revealed the glaring gaps when it comes to the most basic pension knowledge in cities across the nation.

When Brits were tasked with defining commonly used pension terms, Edinburgh (5%), Southampton (5%) and Sheffield (3%)2 came out on top as the cities with highest percentage of residents able to identify every pension term. The biggest gaps in pension knowledge came from those living in Coventry, Belfast, Aberdeen and York, with no respondents from these cities able to answer every question correctly.

With the decline of final salary schemes, people are increasingly going to need good personal pensions to provide a comfortable future. And while 73% of employees3 are now paying into a personal pension thanks to the introduction of auto-enrolment, worryingly nearly three quarters (72%) of Liverpool residents were unable to correctly define what a personal pension is. With a quarter (25%) of those living in the city simply stating that they ‘don’t know’.

The top 5 cities where residents are most clued up on personal pensions are:

  1. Aberdeen (55%)
  2. Oxford (52%)
  3. Manchester (50%)
  4. Bristol (49%)
  5. Cardiff (49%)

When it comes to paying money into a pension, savvy savers in Norwich were the most likely to know about pension contributions (82%). With Southampton (79%) and Leeds (78%) residents also confident that pension contributions can be made by you, your employer or another third party. Those living in Glasgow were the least likely to know what a pension contribution is (57%) with 14% believing this is money paid into your pension solely by the government.

While the State Pension may not be enough to provide a comfortable retirement (the full State Pension currently provides £168.60 a week) it can be a useful top up to your savings. Despite 84% of Brits understanding that the State Pension is a regular payment from the government most people can claim when they reach State Pension age, 15% of those in Manchester and Bristol wrongly believe they pay into the State Pension themselves. And one in six (16%) Coventry residents think they’ll only get the state pension if they have no other pension savings.

Commenting on the findings, Jamie Smith-Thompson, Managing Director at Portafina, said:

“A pension is the most powerful savings tool most of us will ever have. And with auto-enrolment kick starting retirement saving for millions of people, things are generally looking positive.


“Pensions are notoriously complicated to understand. And as the pension industry and the government look to make pensions more accessible with developments such as the pensions dashboard, we need to make sure that we’re helping people across the country to have the basic knowledge and information they need about pensions.


“At the end of the day, you shouldn’t have to learn a new language just to understand your pension options. There are plenty of good regulated financial advisers whose job is to make everything as clear as possible for you. So, it’s important to find the right one for you.”Jamie Smith-Thompson

Featured in:
HR News
Pensions Age

  1. Statistics taken from a survey of 2,003 employed UK adults in February 2019
  2. Statistics taken from a survey of 2,002 UK adults in June 2019
  3. ONS

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Katie Burgess, Portafina PR and Content Executive

Katie Burgess

PR and Content Executive


01634 930 600

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