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Blog: Retirement Awareness Week – Save Time, Not Money

People often say that lack of publicity is bad publicity, but recent headlines about pensions have generally not had the best impact on members, as fears that pensions are on the brink of collapse have raised concerns among members.

Many in the industry were quick to point out that pension schemes were facing liquidity issues rather than solvency issues, with industry experts appearing on the evening news to help reassure members on the security of their pensions.

But pensions didn’t have the best image even before that. While Britons clearly remain protective of their pensions, past scandals have left their mark, as evidenced by recent evidence from the Work and Pensions Committee inquiry into pension freedoms.

“The pension industry has a bad reputation for honesty and fairness,” wrote an anonymous saver, adding that receiving “bad returns from unscrupulous companies is why people shy away from pensions in general”.

Others argued that savers should “forget about pensions”, suggesting that since retirement savings “take a lot of money out of circulation”, they could “essentially collect from the poor and lend to the rich”.

The blame game over recent LDI issues will no doubt continue, with an investigation recently launched into the matter by the WPC.

In the meantime, however, it is important that members receive simple information to help them understand the impact of recent volatility on their pension.

It’s perhaps a fortuitous moment that the ninth Pension Awareness Week is just around the corner, with campaign co-founder Rachel Parkinson saying that “it’s never been more important to provide simple information for help the public make informed decisions about their money.”

“The live online broadcasts and information we provide on the Pension Awareness website will cover everything from pensions to personal finance and financial advice, so I encourage everyone to take a look at the platform. form and get involved in the live shows,” she continued.

It is also a different year, with support from the cross-sector Pension Attention campaign, which has the support of 17 providers, while those involved are also working closely with the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and the Money and Pensions. Services (Cards).

The campaign, led by the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) and the Association of British Insurers (ABI), has also brought in grime artist and TV cook, Big Zuu, who has produced a new track inspired by pension awareness and music video to support the campaign.

But getting the right message across has become even more difficult amid the cost of living crisis, as some face the impossible decision to ‘eat or heat’.

While this may make retirement awareness efforts more difficult, it also means they are needed now more than ever.

Indeed, Parkinson said “it has never been more important for initiatives such as pension awareness during the cost of living crisis” as people have even more questions they need answered, the campaign receiving an increasing number of questions about the impact. to suspend pensions.

Adding to this, Punter Southall Aspire, the creators of National Pension Tracing Day, business manager Alan Morahan suggested that the rising cost of living makes it “all the more important that people get back the money they have worked so hard to earn and save,” recent research found the total value of lost pensions had risen to £26.6bn.

And campaigns like Pension Awareness aren’t necessarily about changing savings behavior, but about taking the time to review their existing pension, understand what they have and where they are.

National Pension Research Day, for example, is not about encouraging individuals to save more, but about tracing the savings they have already made with the extra hour they will have when the clocks roll back.

Similarly, recent messages from the Pension Attention campaign have urged savers to ditch certain household chores and check their pension instead, after research found that people spend at least 30 minutes a week on household chores, but only 30 minutes a year to review their pension.

“We suggest everyone skip a job this week and use the time for a pension administrator instead, or maybe persuade another member of the household to step in!” Sarah Cordey, Pension Attention campaign manager, commented. “It’s not about saving more money – we just want people to spend some time making sure they know where their pensions are and how to monitor them.”

Interest in the Pension Awareness campaign already appears to be on the rise, with nearly 27,000 savers signed up for the campaign’s live broadcasts so far, up 50% from 2021.

With savers taking the time to participate in the campaign, it is up to the industry to maintain this momentum, work with members and restore trust.

The industry seems ready to intervene, but it remains to be seen whether this will be enough to repair the damage already done.