GERMANY - The number of Germans who think they will have to cut expenses at retirement is on the rise, while fewer people are willing to save privately for their pension, research has suggested.

Approximately 73% of those interviewed claimed they will have to reduce their standards of living at retirement while 22% said they are convinced they can uphold current conditions, according a March poll of over 2000 employees by DIA, the German institute for retirement provision.

A similar poll in 2005 found only 37% had expressed a similarly gloomy view of their future. At that time, German participants said they were particularly worried about the state pension though people's faith in occupational pension schemes remainws intact even during the financial crisis (See earlier IPE articles: State pension no longer safe bet, finds DIA and Companies need pension guarantees - VFPK)

At the same time, the number of  people willing to change their personal pension provision has decreased by two percentage points since January, the DIA noted.

Just 41% now say they have not saved enough for their retirement but are currently unable or unwilling to change that, although 20% said they do want to start saving privately. Almost 40% said they think they have done enough for their retirement provision.

German insurers meanwhile noted there was less interest in unit-linked life insurance products which have, so far, been the preferred choice for private retirement provision.

People tend to want guarantees when such funded products are requested, but the insurers noted there had been a return to classic life insurance products in the wake of the crisis.

The DIA poll also revealed the financial crisis has hit many Germans as 19% said they have suffered losses on their investments.

Another 15% said they have suffered salary cuts while 4% have been put on shorter working hours.

The insurance group HDI Gerling has urged companies and employees to check their pension arrangements in light of this development

People who are paying less into their pension funds - and have seen their share of the salary, converted to a contribution, shrink - might face unpleasant surprises in cases of early payout should they become unable to work, the insurer noted.

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Julie Henderson on + 44 (0)20 7261 4602 or email