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Fidelity's Global Retirement Survey

Measuring retirement readiness and the steps workers can take to improve their financial path to retirement.

Understanding Fidelity’s Retirement Readiness Score

To better understand retirement readiness of people around the world, our comprehensive survey posed financial and behavioural questions to working people in the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada and the United States. 

Based on the survey data and our retirement planning methodology, our analysis assigns each region a readiness score from zero to 150 - the Fidelity Retirement Readiness Score. This measures whether people in that region are on track to maintain their pre-retirement lifestyle in retirement. The higher the score, the more retirement ready the population as described below:


Retirement readiness in the UK

Fidelity’s analysis of retirement survey data for the United Kingdom resulted in a calculated median Retirement Readiness Score of 73. This indicates that, without action, at least modest adjustments to the populations‘ planned lifestyle are likely to be needed in retirement.A detailed cross-region comparison of Retirement Readiness can be found in our Global Retirement Readiness Report.


In the UK, results varied by generation. Younger workers returned a median score of 70 across all incomes falling into the ‘Fair’ category. Middle-aged workers returned a median score of 71 falling into the ‘Fair’ category and older workers returned a median score of 82 falling into the ‘Good’ category and returning the highest median score across all incomes.

UK Median Retirement Readiness Scores by income & generation


Source: Fidelity Global Retirement Survey 2019. All retirement readiness scores are median scores.

Helping UK employees with retirement readiness

There is a clear need for active retirement planning and employers, as part of their workplace investing offering, can play an important role in helping employees understand their retirement savings goals, as well as steps they can take to meet those goals. 

We’ve identified three key steps people can take to improve their financial path to retirement:


  • Raise Savings - Our survey results show that insufficient savings rates are the largest hurdle to retirement readiness. In separate research, our Global Retirement Savings Guidelines recommend a total savings rate in the UK of at least 13% of annual income (before tax) each year. Survey responses show that the current median savings rate in the UK is 7%, indicating that many workers are missing this mark. Just over half reported that they don’t know how much they should be saving for retirement. Even small increases in savings can make a big difference.
  • Review Asset Mix - although savers can’t anticipate market behaviour, they can build potential for long-term growth into portfolios through investment choices and exposure to various asset classes.  Understanding their allocation across their investments and potentially adjusting portfolios, that may be too conservative or too aggressive, with age appropriate allocation can have a positive impact.
  • Revisit Retirement Plan - the longer workers can wait to retire, the more time they have to build retirement savings and increase state/national pension benefits. It also shortens the period over which retirement assets will need to fund retirement expenses. At Fidelity, we encourage people to save for the long term and take action now to prepare for their financial future, whatever their retirement may look like.

Source: Fidelity Global Retirement Survey 2019. All retirement readiness scores are median scores.

Analysis of the survey results show that taking these actions would increase the overall median retirement readiness scores across all regions. While we recognise that not all these steps are possible or appropriate for everyone, those who take as many of them as possible may benefit significantly.

Moving forward

Much more can be done to improve the state of retirement readiness across the world. Although not all workers will be able to land in the coveted ‘On Target’ zone, those who understand the importance of setting appropriate retirement goals and who learn what actions to take to reach them will greatly improve their prospects to meet their total estimated retirement expenses. 

We believe that by working with employers, we can help to provide the education and guidance employees need to prepare themselves properly for retirement. We have developed a globally-consistent set of retirement savings guidelines to help people get started on their retirement savings journey. Based on four interconnected metrics, the guidelines can help employees plan their journey and explore the impact of actions like saving more, retiring later or making lifestyle adjustments to their retirement goals. 

By encouraging your employees to start saving as early as possible and providing them with the resources necessary to make informed financial decisions, together we can create better outcomes.

Global Retirement Readiness Report

A multi-region report on retirement readiness and the steps workers can take to improve their financial path to retirement.

Global Retirement Savings Guidelines

A global approach to helping workers reach their retirement goals.

UK Retirement Readiness Summary

A two page summary of the retirement readiness score for the UK.

Important Information

This information is intended to be educational and is not tailored to the investment needs of any specific investor. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment or action.

Investment involves risks. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you may not get back what you invest. Stock markets are volatile and can decline significantly in response to adverse issuer, political, regulatory, market, or economic developments.

About the Fidelity Global Retirement Survey

The survey population consisted of respondents with the following qualifying conditions: individuals aged 20-75 years old; working full-time or part-time or have spouse working full-time or part-time; not retired; expecting to retire someday; with or without retirement savings; the main financial decision maker or equal joint main financial decision maker in the household; a minimum household income of United States: $20,000 annually;  United Kingdom: £10,000 annually; Germany: €20,000 annually; Hong Kong: HK$15,000 monthly; Japan: ¥3,000,000 annually; Canada: CA$10,000 annually..  

Our research and analysis were completed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan and Canada. Data collection was completed in partnership with Ipsos, a global market and opinion research specialist, who collected and collated data for each region in September 2019.

About the Fidelity Retirement Readiness Score and key pre-retirement steps

The Retirement Readiness Score offers a simply, intuitive, standardised (consistent and comparable) measure of the degree to which one is financially on track for retirement, as well as a means of evaluating the potential improvement associated with improved retirement behaviors. 

The goal is to gain a better understanding of where workers across the world are today when it comes to retirement readiness and how this readiness varies within a given region. Our analysis looks at retirement savings and spending, not only to provide a more comprehensive picture of the state of retirement readiness, but also to offer consumers specific steps that can be taken to improve their likelihood of living the lifestyle they expect in retirement. 

The score is based on a 150-point scale where zero indicates a person is projected to be unable to meet any of the retirement expenses estimated to be necessary to maintain one's pre-retirement lifestyle in retirement and 150 means a person is projected to be able to meet 150% of those retirement expenses. The Fidelity Retirement Readiness Score is calculated using Fidelity’s proprietary methodology which consists of region-specific modelling assumptions that are applied to survey data. More specifically, the methodology looks at age, marital status, gender, asset allocation, savings rate, accumulated savings, other income sources, retirement age, and life expectancy to estimate income needs in retirement. The estimated income needs, determined through Fidelity's evaluation of national income and expenditure data, taxation and pension data, are then compared to projected retirement savings balances and other income sources to determine the extent of retirement readiness.

The key pre-retirement steps - raise savings, review asset mix, revisit retirement plan - applied individually, or in combination, will have a positive impact on retirement readiness. The impact of increasing savings and adopting an age-appropriate asset mix will be greater for those further from retirement due to the longer remaining accumulation period. Retirement readiness will benefit to a greater extent when the impact of these positive actions can play out over a longer period. Improvements can vary significantly based on how far one’s current behaviours/plans deviate from the targets associated with each step and how much time one has between one’s current age and planned retirement for the potential benefits to manifest themselves. The impact of the steps can vary from country to country depending on the current and projected savings amounts, asset allocation and estimated retirement ages reported by survey respondents.

About Fidelity’s Global Retirement Savings Guidelines

The Fidelity Retirement Saving Guidelines, released globally in November 2018, provided a set of general retirement saving/spending guidelines (rules of thumb) for required savings rate, age-based savings milestones, required income replacement, and possible sustainable withdrawal rates. For more information please see Fidelity’s Global Retirement Savings Guidelines.