Many people due to retire in the next 12 months have yet to put a clear retirement plan in place, according to new research from Fidelity Worldwide Investment.

The asset management company’s study of “The Class of 2015,” released three weeks before the pension freedoms come into effect, found that just 15 percent of people have organised plans for their retirement, while 20 percent haven’t started researching their options yet.

Alan Higham, Retirement Director at Fidelity Worldwide Investment, said:

“The date of April 6 is not something that should be viewed as a target, reached at all cost and at the sake of vital research and careful consideration. Indeed, people may prefer to take their time to work through their retirement plans which is an approach we would strongly endorse.

“These decisions are complex and we would urge people to seek the appropriate expert help and advice in order to ensure they get their most from their retirement savings; be it through careful research or through an adviser or PensionWise if they are less confident.”

The research found that most soon-to-be pensioners said they preferred to wait before taking any action. 27 percent said this was to see what changes would be implemented with the new rules, while a further 10 percent said they were waiting for their product provider to get in touch with them.

While the majority (65%) of respondents reported feeling confident about managing their finances, the report shows that the basic elements have not yet been considered. 10 percent said they believe they can organise their retirement income without needing to contact their provider to establish terms of access and a further seven percent said they hadn’t even thought about this element.

This is also reflected in “small print issues” with 13 percent of the Class of 2015 not intending to investigate any entitlement to extra cash, guaranteed annuities or penalties with another 10 percent considering it to be unnecessary.

Worryingly, aspects such as emergency funds or contingency plans for the death of a partner also seem to have fallen by the wayside for some. Nearly one in ten (8%) didn’t consider the former was required while 10 percent felt this way about the latter life changing event.

Higham added:

“It is alarming that there is a certain hardcore of people taking an approach to retirement that they would not take to their everyday life. With neither a rainy day fund, nor idea of a budget nor, indeed, an intention of establishing the best deal or checking the small print on their funds, this group is vulnerable to making a poor choice that could cost them dearly in retirement. We would strongly urge those retiring next year and beyond to research the key issues we have set out here to ensure financial peace of mind in the longer term.”