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Retirement saving in the UK: a life-cycle analysis

Roberta Adami (Department of Accounting, Finance and Governance, Westminster Business School, University of Westminster, London, UK)
Andrea Carosi (Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy)
Anita Sharma (Hertfordshire Business School, University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK)

Studies in Economics and Finance

ISSN: 1086-7376

Article publication date: 5 March 2018




This paper aims to study long-term savings accumulation in the UK. The authors use cross-sectional information from the extensive data set of the Family Resources Survey to compare long-term saving amongst different ethnic groups with the control group, the native population. The paper reflects on whether different groups are more likely to suffer poverty in retirement.


In this analysis, the authors apply the life-cycle framework to explain saving profiles. This theoretical model has been used extensively in the field of economics and can be applied to empirical studies to examine changes in income and saving patterns over the life-course. The framework contends that individuals make savings decisions to smooth consumption over different phases of their life-cycle.


The findings indicate that socio-economic factors are key elements in determining whether individuals plan for retirement if factors are controlled for the differences in saving behaviours between ethnic minorities and the control population decrease considerably. Asian women, with good education and social standing, display greater saving rates than the control group, while the socio-economic disadvantage suffered especially by Pakistani and Bangladeshi women is key to their inability to save long-term. High levels of poverty in retirement are more likely to be caused by the interaction of low levels of education, part-time work and long spells of unemployment than by ethnicity.


The important contribution to the debate on savings by ethnic minorities is the extension of the life-cycle model to specific sections of the population and to proffer new insights into their saving/dis-saving patterns and ultimately their welfare in retirement.



Adami, R., Carosi, A. and Sharma, A. (2018), "Retirement saving in the UK: a life-cycle analysis", Studies in Economics and Finance, Vol. 35 No. 1, pp. 109-136.



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