Saving support amid the solitude: a 21st century guide to retiring
But isn’t there somewhere in the middle that’s a better place entirely?
I could go into the kind of dense detail which makes most people turn away from pensions so have instead opted for a more accessible approach.
In the defined benefit or final salary age, your pension was your employer’s responsibility.
Fast forward to today’s defined contribution or workplace era and a more challenging reality. You are on the hook for how much you have to retire on. Yes, there are tax breaks and employer contributions but mostly, it’s on you.
That’s a pretty scary thought for most of us who find it hard enough, especially in the present climate, to open a gas bill.
So, there are many more shades of grey between these black and white extremes of the pension spectrum, but this is the stark reality.
We wanted to make workplace pensions a less lonely place to be. The fact is the savings industry, government and employers do offer guidance and support to nudge you towards taking more of an interest with what you have put away.
It stands to reason that if you do “engage” ie play an active role in how much, where and what your pension is invested in, you have a reasonable chance of a happier outcome.
We are living through The Advice Gap, a time when people either cannot afford to or simply do not want to pay for financial advice. How do we give them what they need to plan for something as complicated as pensions?
Our award-winning Aspire to Retire is an online resource to help employees think more closely about time after work. For a very modest per member cost, it answers all the questions they are likely to have. The focus is on when you reach 50, the stage when many of us switch on to the idea of a pension as it seems much closer to when we were 30.
For HR teams, its monthly updates and inviting look and feel supports their overall effort to help their people plan retirement without feeling overwhelmed (a common emotion) and provides informed insight. It provides online information, webinars and even the opportunity to talk to someone in person, online or on the phone.
Making it available to companies squares the solitude circle. Workers have traditionally looked to their employer for access to pension guidance and continue to do so. Aspire to Retire is a 21st century answer to retaining this connection.
A way, then, to offer affordable yet valuable support to your people as they enter the later stage of working life, so they don’t have to do it alone. As an employer, have you helped them prepare to make life-changing decisions?