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    Making the right choice is critical when reviewing your pension scheme

    16 January 2020

    Graeme Bell

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    2 minute read

    Jam today, jam tomorrow...

    Reviewing your teachers' pension scheme?

    Too much choice can be overwhelming but it's critical you make the right choice when reviewing your pension scheme options 

    In a famous study by psychologists Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper, customers at a high-end supermarket were offered samples of speciality jam. On the day they offered a choice of 24 types of jam, almost nobody went on to make a purchase even though the offer included a money off coupon.

    On another day when they offered a choice of only six types of jam, 10 times as many customers did make a purchase - even though there was no money off coupon and the price was higher.

    More isn't always best

    There are lots of studies similar to this supporting the argument that more isn’t always best and that too much choice can be confusing, even with something as relatively simple as jam. But choice is good for us. Good choices are the decisions that keep us moving in the direction we want to go. However, different people presented with the same options will often make different choices that lead to different outcomes.

    That doesn’t necessarily mean some of the decisions were bad: provided the decision-making process was appropriately thorough for the gravity of the situation, would stand up to scrutiny and is in keeping with the individual’s needs, values and aspirations then you could argue the decision was good regardless of the outcome.

    Teachers' pension scheme options

    Going back to our jam analogy, if you’re one of the 100's of independent schools reviewing their teachers’ pension scheme options you may be facing a similar psychological test.

    There are ready-made pensions targeted at schools that could potentially make some aspects of your decision-making process easier, but like many ready-made solutions these arrangements are unlikely to fit everyone perfectly. The fact that they are ready-made means they have not considered your school’s specific needs and unique staff demographics. Instead they have probably been designed for a broad target market and whilst some schools will fit that mould, others will not.  

    Just like jam in the supermarket, there is plenty of choice in the workplace pensions market.  Unlike jam, however, it is critical your pension scheme decisions are good ones given that your choice and design of pension scheme could have a pivotal role in determining the future livelihoods for so many people.

    Meet the needs of your school and staff

    The result will ultimately come down to the quality of your decision-making process, making sure you thoroughly consider all the relevant factors of your pension scheme provision, including any other associated employee benefits, and fully exploring your options to ensure your choices best meet the needs of your school and staff.

    To find out more please visit our comprehensive web resource:

    A complete guide to pension challenges faced by independent schools'

    We have experience supporting independent schools through the process of choosing and designing their pension schemes. If we can help you too, please get in touch.

    Related Resource

    4 top tips for changing your teachers' pension scheme

    Just like jam in the supermarket, there is plenty of choice in the workplace pensions market. 

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