Do young people face a choice between a pension and a home?

Iona Bain

Forget luxurious presents; for many young Scots, getting onto the property ladder would be top of their fantasy wish-list this Christmas.

Home ownership is still a popular desire across the country and aspiring buyers received extra encouragement from the government this week. Chancellor George Osborne’s pledge of £2.3bn for starter homes prompted renewed calls from Homes For Scotland for a new initiative from Holyrood.  Next week sees  the launch of the Help to Buy Isa, offering a tax-free savings shelter and up to £3000 cash towards a first home.

But savers are being told that they may have to choose between owning a home and enjoying a pleasant retirement at the age they expect.

National advisory firm Towry has now argued that rising house prices and longer life expectancy are creating a “retirement timebomb”, as young professionals cut pension contributions to build up home deposits.

The company surveyed 2000 respondents who earn over £30,000 and found that 30-39 year olds in that earning bracket are typically putting 37 per cent of a monthly “financial plan” into savings accounts, but only 23 per cent into a pension fund.

Towry suggested that these low pension contributions will fail to amass the funds needed to give savers their preferred income in retirement and could force them to work into their seventies.

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