79% of savers take pension lump sum

As many as four-fifths of savers opt to take some of their pension as a lump sum - although the amount they take has shown a 10% drop since the start of the downturn, a survey says.

A total of 79% of people with personal or company pensions take a chunk of their savings as a tax-free lump sum, with the average person receiving £21,500, the Prudential found.

This sum has dropped 11% since 2008, when pensioners typically took £24,154, with the suggestion being that the recession may hit the overall value of pension pots.

Just over half of these people used the money to save for the future, while around a quarter invested it, which is broadly in line with what people did in 2008. However, there was a rise in the amount of people using the cash to buy luxuries, with 31% spending the money on a holiday compared to just 18% in 2008. Just under one in five used the cash for a new car, compared to 17% in 2008.

About 19% of savers used the cash to pay off some or all of their mortgage, with 17% using it to clear unsecured debts like credit cards and loans.

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