The self-employed and pensions

The UK’s self-employed populace is now 4.5 million strong. Although there has been a modest fall in their numbers of late after years of rising, the self-employed look set to continue being a larger part of the workforce than in recent decades. While much has been made of their poor earnings performance relative to employees, less attention has been given to the incomes the self-employed can expect upon retirement. A number of arguments are made for why low pension coverage is less worrying for the self-employed, for example the possibility of selling off their business to fund their retirement. This briefing note assesses these discussions and pension trends among the self-employed and asks whether it presents a genuine cause for concern.