/ Money

Update: do you know if your retirement plans are on track?

Pension saving

Our research has found that nearly half of those over 50 aren’t sure of the value of their pension. But knowing these details is vital for making informed retirement decisions. So do you know what’s in your pension pot?

Gone are the days when people worked for one company all their life. In fact, the Government estimated in 2011 that on average people will work for 11 employers during their lifetime.

With the introduction of auto-enrolment for workplace pensions that means more and more of us will retire with multiple pension pots. For what it’s worth, I’ve got three different pensions so far.

Keeping a track of your pension can be difficult, but this is pretty critical information when you’re planning how to turn those savings into a retirement income. So how can things be improved for savers?

Tracking your pension using the pensions dashboard

Imagine if you could go online, securely, and – maybe using your national insurance number – see all the information about your pension pots and savings, alongside your state pension forecast.

Well it’s not impossible; these types of pension dashboards already exist in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

When we asked people approaching retirement age how much they knew about what they’d saved, four in 10 found said they it difficult to keep track of their retirement funds. And a fifth said they wouldn’t know how to find out this information.

But that’s no surprise really when you think that currently you need to keep the paperwork from all your different pension providers, update them all when you move house, or try to remember if you had a pension with that firm you worked for 20 years ago…

Keep it simple for savers

A pensions dashboard could house all this information in one easily accessible place. It could give people a complete picture of their retirement fund and, in turn, help them make informed choices. It might also help engage people with their pensions while they’re still working.

We’re now calling on the Government to commit to the testing and introduction of a pensions and savings dashboard without delay. The regulator has previously said that it would work towards this in the longer term, and the pensions industry is supportive too.

Update: 12 September 2016

Earlier this year, the Treasury backed our call for a Pensions Dashboard. Within the Chancellor’s Budget, plans were announced for the free-to-use online dashboard to be delivered by the pensions industry by 2019.

The Treasury has now announced that 11 pension providers have joined together, in a scheme managed by the Association of British Insurers, to build a prototype of the dashboard.

The long-awaited Pensions Dashboard will see a beta version ready by March 2017, with the dashboard due to be available to the public by 2019.

Do you know how much is in your retirement savings? Do you think a dashboard like this could help you with tracking your pension?

Comments

I spent my working life in universities that shared the same pension scheme and started looking at my pension when I was about 50. I had three or four forecasts before I retired. I’m not sure how well I would have coped with having paid into several pension schemes, but since pension schemes can fail, maybe it is better not to have all your eggs in one basket.

Making it easier to keep track of pensions is welcome but I think the top priority is to get people into pension schemes wherever possible.

JNP says:
8 March 2016

I don’t think a “dashboard” would help and I think it would be a waste of money….

John says:
8 March 2016

I do find it relatively easy to find the value of my pension pot but not So easy to track what’s happening with my deferred state pension. There seems to be a lot of added complexity to estimating it.

Afraid this is not really a government responsibility nor something they would do well. It should be a regulatory requirement that those who provide pensions or pension products provide a simple method of pulling together pensions and investments and simple tools to enable savers to monitor performance and value of pensions and investments. At the moment providers of pension and investment products, such as the biggest, Hargreaves and Landsdown, make it very difficult to monitor performance against indexes / competitors/ inflation etc.

Mike says:
8 March 2016

I believe the original State pension scheme was started under a Liberal government precisely because so many people ended up destitute and living in the Workhouse where families were forcibly separated and forced to work for their keep.
Even my parents were always fearful of a return to workhouse conditions
Therefore in any Civilised Society it is only the government that has the financial clout and ability to run a reliable pension scheme.
The present Government seem determined not to provide any public services at all, forcing local authorities to provide all public amenities by continually reducing the local authority grants eventually to zero.
So many private pension schemes have been robbed by Company Bosses in the past that it is a disgrace they were not prosecuted
The former bosses of Rover Group have never repaid funds stolen from their former workers pension fund which was a contributory scheme, the same goes for one press baron who later was ”lost” at sea

Cerinthe Gilroy says:
8 March 2016

as the government keep moving the goal posts with pensions, they have made mine worse so far on two occasions, should have retired at 60, then 62 now 66, can’t trust any pension forcast or ‘dashboard’.

I couldn’t agree more they have taken nothing into account especially that unfortunately older people’s health does deteriorate to take it for granted they can all work until they are 66 or older is ridiculous. I’ve already paid my full amount of NI fonts to get a pension now had the state pension still come in I would have retired this year. Healthy or not which I fall into. It’s scared for people

Sounds a good idea.

Great idea. There is a lot of scope for improvement in the way information is accessed, and the sooner we start with an online system the better.

Any system that clarifies what you have saved for your retirement should be made obligatory.
It is our money and cloaking its value only means one thing,someone is making perhaps more than they should from simply holding your money.
Definitely clarify the true value of an investment.
Tom

I worked in the state sector and a Charity, so was clear about what I was to receive. However I paid into an AVC and had no idea what it was worth until I retired. I then had the task of working out how I wanted it paid. Index linked? With my partner having it on my death? Did I want the annuity with the AVC company or another? I have worked it I will have to live till I am 90 to get back all I paid in, I suspect I wont live that long!!

A dashboard wouldn’t help me – I know how little I’ve got to look forward to from Pension Forecasts.
My fervent hope is that the present/future government do not put back the retirement dates for the current over 55’s even further, or I may never get my state pension at all, due to poor health.

I believe it would be an excellent idea. So many people who are paying into pensions know little about their schemes as these change from time to time and you need to keep up with the changes otherwise you could lose out by not making the right decisions at the right time . The statements that these companies provide are extremely complex and difficult to understand. Anything that makes he process simpler has to be a good thing

I do not find it difficult to keep track of my pension savings and would be concerned about the security of any such system.

they already do

Gary says:
8 March 2016

I don’t see the point in one as the rules change that much these days that you’ll either never get to retire or you’ll be on the scrap heap far too early. After losing my job and finding it impossible to find another, I took minor consolation in the fact that at least I’d earned enough in contributions to get my pension, eventually and so could at least save some money by not having to sign on simply for NI credit. Then the goal posts were shifted and I’ve no idea what will happen. or when I become a pensioner instead of simply not being here. The way things are going with the NHS and energy prices, I’ll not live long enough to retire anyway so won’t have that problem after all.

Barbara says:
8 March 2016

I would welcome a dashboard – it is so difficult to know what to expect. Part of that is the rules changing all the time, and the age of retirement, and having pots in different places. We need more advice on pensions – and not the kind that says I am not qualified to advise! It is a minefield. People with small pension pots need advice most of all and cannot afford to pay financial advisers when they will get so little at the end of it.

The government record on large computer systems is terrible! This is just another government system that is doomed to fail, because they don’t know anything about technology – they all studied classics!
Even if you know how much pension you are going to get, you don’t know what costs are going to do or how taxation will change or whether you will be ill or how long you will live. All you can do is be prudent and put aside 10 – 15% of your income for retirement. But remember that if you have a large pension pot, greedy chancellors will try and relieve you of a large part of it before you can enjoy it!

I didn’t have any help four years ago. Anybody wanting help in the future would only have it paid for by reduced annuity rates and the fat cats would probably get even more. Best to get an IFA and boycott those firms who need expensive London offices.

I worked for 9 companies before I retired. Some of them had pension schemes some didn’t. Only one had a transferable scheme. Two of them changed their managers or got taken over. One of the schemes got merged into another many years after I left when the original employer was taken over. Some of them ended up with only a few hundred pounds in the pot. If there was a government run database with a dashboard I could log into the same as I log into the Government Gateway, for HMRC to do my self assessment Tax return, that all pension schemes had to update it would have made life much easier. Several of the pensions I have failed to track down, despite using the government search scheme.

Frazer Bush says:
8 March 2016

I think this is important as I do not trust pensions and bankers. To be forced into a system that I do not trust is a joke and the company’s should be forced to show what that can offer and what they can give as a minimum otherwise what is the point in them

I have been paying into the NI system for 36 years. On retiring at 67 I was told of the size of my state pension. I would think it would have been much better if I knew all the way what was the size of my pension pot with the state and even better if I had the choice of shopping around or even much better if given the option invest it in a SIPP (Drawdown plan).

But thank you for this campaign and all others before.