December 10 2013 Latest news:
Adam Aiken, Editor
Monday, September 17, 2012
Two new bits of research have once again laid bare the confusion and apathy surrounding many people’s pension provision.
One of the studies has highlighted the degree to which women are lagging behind men when it comes to saving for later life, while the other emphasised how little many people know about the value of their retirement pots.
According to the first report, nearly half of those working women who are putting money into their pensions are saving less than £100 a month. That figure represents about a fifth of the amount being saved by men.
Meanwhile, the same study found that a quarter of women aged between 40 and 54 had not even thought about saving for retirement, let alone actually doing anything about it, with nearly 60pc of those surveyed stating they found the whole subject confusing.
The findings led Yougov, which carried out the study, to brand retired women the “poor relations of society”.
It added that pension providers must “meet the need – in a format that is clear and concise – so that today’s busy women can take control of saving for their retirement”.
Adele Gritten, at Yougov, pointed out that financial services providers had created other products – such as car insurance and savings products – specifically tailored for women, but private pensions remained available only on a one-size-fits-all basis, and did not take into account the different situations that women often found themselves in during their working lives.
“There’s a real need for pensions that take account of women’s maternity leave and career breaks,” Ms Gritten said.
“The government is already planning to close the gender gap in pensions with the introduction of a flat-rate state pension next year. Our research indicates that women expect similar initiatives from the private sector.
“Those providers that step up to fill this void are looking at a large untapped and unfulfilled market.”
The second report – this one by Friends Life – found that more than two thirds of people with pension savings do not know how much their nest eggs are worth.
About one person in every 10 has no record of pensions held with previous employers, and more than 30pc are unsure where to find the relevant paperwork.
Friends Life said the “startling figures” highlighted “the apathy that a significant proportion of the population displays towards pensions”.
Colin Williams, at Friends Life, said: “This astounding research shows that people are not paying enough attention to their pensions.
“We believe that every year individuals are losing out on significant savings held within pension funds that they are unaware they have.
“It is imperative that people are aware of where their money is and what it is doing for them.
“Too often, pensions are deserted and not considered properly before it’s too late.
“Making sure you are aware of the pensions you have, the amount you and your employer are paying, what charges there are and how much each pension plan is worth is essential for retirement planning.”
TIPS FOR PEOPLE WITH MORE THAN ONE EMPLOYER-RUN PENSION SCHEME
Track down all pension pots from previous employers.
Keep a list of all policy details from any previous corporate pensions.
Make sure all your pension providers have your up-to-date contact details.
If you are struggling to trace an old pension pot, use the government’s Pension Tracing Service (www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk/helpful-organisations/pension-tracing-service).
Think about consolidating your small pension pots with one provider, although consider taking advice on this before making any decision.