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A quarter of participants in Aviva's survey only started paying into their pension after they turned 30 - primarily because they did not feel financially stable enough to contribute any sooner.
Many prioritised raising children and paying off their mortgages before putting any surplus cash into their pension.
However, others put leisure/holidays, clothing and their pets before their retirement income.
Almost four in 10 people over the age of 50 believe that an income of between £10,000-£20,000 per annum will be enough to live "comfortably" after stopping work.
This is despite figures from the Pension and Lifetime Savings Association stating that £20,800 a year will only provide an individual with a "moderate" standard of living in retirement.
To enjoy a "comfortable" standard of living, the annual figure is £33,600.
A quarter of those aged over-50 believe that a personal contribution of between 0% and 5% of their salary is an "appropriate and achievable" level to attain a savings pot big enough to support them in retirement.
This is some way off the 12% target that Aviva believes should be a minimum people need to save to avoid disappointment.
When asked about financial advice, more than 70% of over-50s say they have never sought financial advice regarding their pension.
Alistair McQueen, head of savings and retirement at Aviva, said:
"Pensions are more important to more of us than ever before.
"Automatic enrolment has brought pension savings to millions, but this was only introduced a decade ago and for many, especially those over the age of 50, it is perhaps too little, too late.
"Hindsight is a wonderful thing and life in your 20s and 30s can often take over - with children to raise, debts to pay and holidays to be had.
"However, it's important to take stock of your financial situation early. You may not think you have enough spare cash, or that you have years until you retire, but as we found with our survey, most people over the age of 50 wished that they had paid more into their pension pot sooner.
"It's also important that people are realistic about how much they might need to live on in retirement. With more people continuing to pay rent or mortgages after they finish working, it is unlikely that an income of between £10,000-£20,000 per year will be sufficient to have a 'comfortable' lifestyle. To avoid sleepwalking into retirement it's important to understand how much you have in your pension, what that money might look like as retirement income and how long you might need that money to last."