Retirement savings a distant dream for many freelancers

A national survey from IPSE, the Association of Independent Professionals and the Self Employed, has found that many freelancers are struggling to find ways to save for their retirement. IPSE urges Government to work with NEST, its auto-enrolment provider, to create a more flexible pension solution for the self-employed.

The research also discovered that nearly half of independent professionals will be unable to access Lifetime ISAs (LISAs) due to the age cap of 40. IPSE calls on Government to allow the self-employed to access LISAs up to retirement age.

Struggling to save

When independent professionals are deciding on when to retire, the most important factor they consider is their financial security (79%). Of those who intend to work past the State Pension age, almost four in ten say this is because they want to be able to financially support themselves (37%).

When it comes to saving for retirement, the research shows that property is the only savings vehicle freelancers feel confident will support them in retirement (56%). Meanwhile, 40 per cent of respondents are not confident in using their savings (excluding ISA).

Nine per cent of respondents whose age qualifies them for the new State Pension do not believe they will be eligible for it, and 11 per cent do not know whether they would be entitled to it or not.

Previous research from IPSE in 2015 found that 16 per cent of freelancers are not saving for their retirement at all. Less than two-thirds use a pension fund (63%) as a means to save, and a third invest in property (33%).

IPSE Chief Executive, Chris Bryce, commented: “Too many independent professionals are having to work later in life to keep themselves financially stable. And worryingly, many are not confident in finding ways to save for their retirement at all.

“IPSE urges Government to call on NEST to create a flexible pension solution for the self-employed, allowing them to withdraw the last two years of contributions without a penalty. This would not require any additional contribution from government. The scheme would be solely funded by the payments made by the self-employed person.

“For our part we have IPSE Futures for our members, which ensures they have greater flexibility and more control over their savings.

“Pensions are a ticking time bomb for the self-employed, so we implore Government to use Autumn Statement to drive innovative solutions to help this vital sector feel more financially secure over their future.”

Many unable to access LISAs

LISAs were announced by the Government as a potential long-term savings vehicle for the self-employed, however our results show there are barriers to their use.

Almost half (46%) of respondents report they are ineligible to use LISAs due to their current age, while almost a quarter (24%) do not know if they will use LISAs.

And of those that said they do not intend to use or are unsure whether they will use the scheme, almost two thirds (63%) say this was because they do not know enough about it.

Chris Bryce said: “We welcome the introduction of Lifetime ISAs as a potential way for the self-employed to save, however, too many people are not able to use one because they are above the age cap.

“People just aren’t saving when they’re 20 or 30, and in fact the largest proportion of freelancers are over 40 years old.

“The Chancellor should use the Autumn Statement as an opportunity to extend LISAs, removing age as a barrier, and allowing larger maximum annual contribution to be made.

“Too many people don’t know that LISAs will soon be available. There needs to be much better signposting. IPSE will be bringing the news to the self-employed community, but government and banks must do more to promote this savings vehicle so more people are aware of their existence.”

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