GLOBAL - People across the West expect to be worse off than their parents in retirement and fear financial hardship, as the West's golden age of pensions comes to an end and the first generation of prosperous pensioners appears in the world's emerging economies.

With people living longer and governments and companies unable to support the costs of expensive pension schemes, individuals across the West have to take much greater personal responsibility for their retirement planning.

However, too few are doing so, according to the HSBC report 'The Future of Retirement: The power of planning', published today.

The report found that, in emerging economies, rising incomes and living standards are merging with a culture of saving and self-reliance to create a generation of well-prepared retirement optimists.

David Wells, head of investments, pensions and savings at HSBC, said: "A significant shift in retirement wealth, expectations and outlook is taking place around the world, with the traditional East versus West situation no longer the reality.

"Unless Westerners take a leaf from the book of their Asian peers and start to be accountable for their own futures, sadly, many will find their fears of financial hardship in later life come true."

But Latin American countries like Argentina and Brazil share the retirement fears and pessimism of the developed world despite enjoying the benefits of the emerging world's growth.

Many people in the West blame their expectation of being worse off in retirement than their parents on the decline of traditional pension schemes.

In the UK, for example, 57% of respondents say company pensions are becoming less generous, as do 43% in the US - compared with just 17% in South Korea and 19% in Malaysia.

Less generous state pensions are also cited by 58% of people in the UK and 57% of people in France, compared with 25% in Taiwan and Brazil.

On a global average, planners save 2.5 times more toward retirement than non-planners and have 39% more than average in retirement wealth, as well as enjoy a happiness premium about their retirement.

The geographical differences between those who do have a plan and those who do not are stark.

In Malaysia, 84% of respondents have a plan, followed by 76% in China - both are countries with a tradition of individual and family financial responsibility.

In France, however, where the state is the traditional provider in retirement and where personal financial planning is a relative rarity, just 30% of people have a plan in place for their own and their family's future.

The report questioned more than 17,000 people in 17 countries about retirement and financial planning as part of its drive to better understand the trends and consequences of ageing and retirement.