Less than 1 in 10 self-employed workers made personal pension contributions in the 2013/14 tax year.
Analysis of HMRC and Office for National Statistics data by Prudential found that 9% of self-employed people saved into a personal pension.
So, of the 4.6 million people were registered as self-employed in the 2013/14 tax year, 420,000 contributed to a personal pension.
In comparison, 3.3 million people were self-employed in 2001/02 and 1.1 million (34%) made pension contributions.
However, the average annual contribution has risen from £2,200 in 2001/02 to £3,800 in 2013/14.
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.”