Hong Kong's working population are saving from their early 30s for retirement despite being less optimistic about the size of their future nest-eggs, a survey has found. On average, local income earners aged under 45 start putting money aside for the future at 32, while those aged 45 and over began saving at 37. Low-income workers start even later, at 38. Retired people started saving at an average age of 49. The survey also found 58 per cent of people have begun preparing for their retirement in Hong Kong, including 62 per cent among those aged between 25 and 44 and just over half of those aged 45 and over. 'There is a cultural shift towards people looking after themselves. People also now realise that assets, such as property, are not as secure as before,' AXA China Region Insurance Company chief executive officer Mark Wilson said. AXA conducted its survey of 9,200 people from 15 countries and regions, including 607 in Hong Kong, in the fourth quarter of last year. Only workers in Britain and New Zealand started saving for retirement at an earlier age, albeit still in their 30s. Hong Kong tied with the US, Canada and Germany with an average age of 34. Among countries with a much later starting age are Spain and Portugal, where workers' ages averaged 46 before they began their savings plans. Other late starters include Italy, at 51, and Japan, which has a rapidly ageing population, at 52, the survey found. The US topped the list of those who have started saving for retirement, with 73 per cent, while Japan was at the bottom, with 12 per cent. The survey found 72 per cent of workers and 84 per cent of retirees in Hong Kong expect their retirement income to be lower than when they had jobs. This ranks the city closer to Japan than Singapore, where only 59 per cent of the labour force expects lower income after retirement.