Many people in the UAE are in for a tough retirement because the financial demands of day-to-day living and certain life events are preventing them to save, a research suggests.
In its latest series of studies, The Future of Retirement: A new reality,  HSBC looked into the obstacles that prevent consumers from saving for their later life.
It found that certain “life events” are affecting people’s finances,  with 43 per cent of the respondents in the UAE saying that buying a home or paying a mortgage has had a major impact on their ability to continue saving for their retirement.
More than a third (34 per cent) of those surveyed admitted that paying for children’s education has significantly impacted their ability to save. Other major obstacles cited were becoming unemployed (23 per cent) and getting into debt or severe financial difficulty (22 per cent), among others.
Only 46 per cent of UAE residents are saving regularly and among the non-savers, 46 per cent said they are putting off retirement saving because all their money goes into living day-to-day.
The report, based on the survey of more than 15,000 people in 15 countries, including 1,000 respondents in the UAE, suggested that majority of the consumers are likely to have a tough financial time when they retire, with 54 of UAE residents saying they are not adequately prepared to have a comfortable retirement. About 17 per cent said they are not doing any preparations at all, while 36 per cent are not doing enough
The study also found that while people in the country expect to live for 15 years on average after they stop working, their retirement savings are likely to last for only nine years.
Simon Williams, group head of Wealth Management, HSBC, noted that setting aside enough money for retirement is a challenge that most people face around the world.
“Most people hope and aspire to a positive retirement filled with family and leisure pursuits. However, the majority of non-retired people admit that financially, they are not preparing adequately, or at all, for a comfortable retirement,” Williams wrote.
The new HSBC report, the eighth in the series, explored people’s retirement expectations, the obstacles that stop them from reaching their aspirations and how planning can help them ensure they have enough money for later life.
Although there is a huge proportion of UAE residents who are not adequately prepared for retirement, it doesn’t mean most people don’t realise the need to plan for their future. In fact, respondents understand that they need to start preparing early. They think that 37 is the latest age by which they should start mapping out their later years, if they want to retire comfortably. 
UAE residents (20 per cent) are hopeful that the state pension will somehow provide them a source of income when they retire, but they are less reliant on it than the respondents in most other countries surveyed.
They expect the state pension to represent only 11 per cent of their retirement income, with the majority likely to dip into their cash savings and deposits, as well as other investments and personal pensions.