Going back to school

by | Sep 2, 2023 | Pension History

September’s Pensions Awareness Week is the 10th anniversary of a campaign to encourage everyone to get to grips with retirement savings. Although not a new idea, pensions education has never been needed more. Most underestimate the savings needed to enjoy a comfortable retirement and may have wholly unrealistic expectations about what can be provided by the State and minimal auto enrolment savings. More generally, current debates about constrained public resources and the generational divide will not be meaningful unless the public, press and politicians are better informed and more honest about the impact of pensions policy choices, particularly the value and sustainability of public sector pensions as part of an overall remuneration package, and the cost of the State pension ‘triple lock’.

Communication has always been a challenge for pension schemes as a wealth of litigation illustrates. Pensions are complex; many of us only look at the small print when we near retirement, and the opportunity for misunderstanding and disappointment is considerable. Misleading or inadequate communication is often blamed, even though the real issue may be a failure to read or understand the significance of information which has been given.

Over the years, schemes have tried hard to improve engagement and communication. PAT’s archive includes a wealth of member booklets and announcements, annual reports and member presentations which illustrates this trend. Pensions education is the key to ensuring that the efforts made by providers result in better informed retirement choices.

Pensions Archive Trust Director, Jane Marshal

This article was first published in the September 2023 edition of Pensions Age magazine.