The number of self-employed workers making personal pension contributions is at its lowest since 2001, according to analysis by Prudential.
The most recent data made available by HMRC and the ONS reveals that fewer than one in 10 self-employed people paid into a personal pension.
A record high of 4.6m people were registered with HMRC as self-employed during the 2013-14 tax year and the figures show that only 420,000 of them made contributions to a personal pension during that year.
By contrast, data from the 2001-02 tax year shows that 3.3m people were registered as self-employed and 1.1m, or one in three, of them made contributions to a personal pension.
Vince Smith-Hughes, a retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “Many of those who now enjoy the flexibility of self-employment are risking an inflexible future in retirement. While we are seeing many more people in work benefiting from auto-enrolment into company pension schemes, those who don’t have the opportunity of joining such a scheme seem to be turning their back on saving for retirement.
“Irrespective of your employment status the same general rules apply for those looking to secure a comfortable retirement income - save as much as possible as early as possible in your working life and take professional financial advice.”
Dan Farrow, director of Essex-based SBN Wealth Management, said: “The mindset of quite a few self-employed people is that they have a belief they can use any spare cash to grow their business and get a better return than they could through investing in a pension.
“I can understand that mindset but business owners should take a balanced approach.”