People across the UK could face a retirement shortfall of nearly £100 a week, according to new research from Friends Life.

The Friends Life UK Retirement Savings Map looks at which areas of the UK are most prepared for the future.

It studies if consumers are saving into pensions and discovered that those in the North East, Scotland and the North West are most financially prepared.

Meanwhile those in the East Midlands, East of England and the South West are least prepared on average.

Some 58% of people have some form of pension, while 23% said they invest the maximum amount they can afford into it.

Popular methods of planning for retirement include state pension income, savings, investment, property and public/private pension schemes.

Savings are a start…but are they enough?

However, the average amount of retirement savings was still insufficient as people across the UK could face an average weekly shortfall of £96.67.

The research suggested that most UK savers think they will need £409 per week in retirement, yet their actual income from retirement savings will be an average of £312 per week.

Widespread disparity was noted across the UK, with savers in the West Midlands, Scotland and South East investing as much as they could afford into retirement funds.

Meanwhile those in the East Midlands, East of England and the South West are struggling to save as three in five people are not saving into a pension at all.

Understanding how much saving is required is therefore an essential aspect of planning for retirement and levels of planning are reflected by the shortfall figures for each location.

Variation across the UK

People in Scotland and the East of England were found to face weekly shortfalls of £101.44 and £105.38 respectively, according to the research.

That is compared to people in the North West and South West who will have lower shortfalls – of £84.92 and £85.37 respectively.

A major factor in the variations though will be the cost of living in any location – those in London will face a shortfall of £123.87 per week, yet they also face the highest living costs.

As a result many Londoners are focusing on the present and not on the future, which is impacting on the levels of income they set aside for retirement.

Those in Bristol and Sheffield were deemed to be most aware of what their expected income may be, while people in Birmingham were second only to those in the capital for failing to save.

Planning for the future

The Friends Life survey highlights the need for continuous good financial management to reduce the difficulties that may be faced in the future.

Limiting spending is one way to start and this can be done by loading up a certain amount onto a prepaid card each week.

This would limit spending to the amount on the card, while it would then be possible to put other funds towards retirement planning.

These cards can be used in a similar fashion to a credit or debit card and are secure as they are not directly linked to a bank account.