/ Health, Money

Your view: how will future generations cope in retirement?

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Last week we launched a campaign prompted by the Government’s plans to reform the pension market. The consultation is moving fast, with less than three weeks left to respond, so here are some of your views…

With more than 5,000 signatures on our pension campaign already, we’ve been pleased to receive thousands of views and thoughts on the state of our pensions. One of our petition signatures told us:

‘I’m 20 years off retirement – pensions haven’t been in a worse state for decades, we need to be protected’

Worrying about future generations

A number of people have put their support behind the campaign even if their personal situations are not directly affected by the proposed changes. Gayna told us:

‘Although I am already retired, I think this is an important step to ensure that future generations are protected from excessive charges and do not suffer during their retirement.’

And Gary explained how the Government should have a vested interest in setting us up for our retirement:

‘A pension is something we work all our lives towards; it should be protected and should give a fair return. If pensions pay out enough for beneficiaries to enjoy a good standard of living there will be less reliance upon the state to provide top-ups.’

Causon is worried that the current state of pensions is putting people off planning for their futures:

‘I have adult children who need to plan for the future and for their families. They are deterred from committing finances to pension schemes because of the high charges etc taken out of their pension contributions.’

Wider issues in the pensions market

A number of commenters have asked us to widen the scope of our work. Richard suggested that fees are not the only area that needs looking at:

‘I recently started drawing my pension from an employer’s scheme. When I asked them how they had worked out how much to pay me they refused to tell me. I went to the Ombudsman but apparently under the law pension schemes are only required to divulge a limited amount of info. Seems to me that members should be able to see how their pensions were calculated!’

Richard, you’ll be pleased to hear that we’re also asking for the Government to ensure clear, consistent and regular information is provided to consumers about their pension charges so you’ll be better informed about why and how you’re getting the money you’re owed.

And William warned us to keep an eye and make sure extra charges don’t sneak in elsewhere:

‘Whilst trying to campaign on a cap on management fees, I think you should also include a cap on bid/offer spreads. Because all that will happen if you get a cap on management fees is they’ll just try to recoup the money from other revenue streams.’

An excellent point William – which is why we’re also calling for better governance and tighter regulation so these charges can’t simply be hidden elsewhere.

We’re still collecting signatures and views on the consultation over the next three weeks so be sure to add your input before the deadline.

Ian MacKenzie says:
15 November 2013

Stop this perennial tinkering with the rules by successive governments – it just worries people & stops them investing
Issue a guarantee that at least 25% will always be able to be taken as a tax free lump sum
Pass legislation to enable people stuck with old fashioned schemes having to ponder whether to pay draconian transfer charges out of our money to move to a more efficient less costly alternative SIPP
Reduce overall fund charges/AMR charges
Demand full transparency on ALL charges to be provided by all pension companies on statements/valuations
Offer better education/marketing on the need for pensions to be started much earlier within the employment cycle

I agree with every word you say Ian.
I am retired and have a pension, but would not advise anyone to do the same until the government have carried out all of the changes, (and more), on your list.

It was without doubt, the worst financial decision I have ever made

Richard says:
23 November 2013

Don’t trust the government to set up a fair regulation system for private pensions! They are far too business-friendly to do a fair job for the public.
The present mess of Green Energy taxation is due the government’s policy of putting the cost of everything from insulation to micro-generation onto everyone’s energy bills! Meanwhile producers charge what they like! That’s why we’re in such a mess. Should we let them do the same to the pensions industry!
It seems to have escaped everyone’s attention (just as the government wants) that the present Dept. of Work & Pensions revue, to take effect in 2016, plans to rob everybody who paid into SERPs of about £1700 per year! It was effectively a ‘defined benefit’ scheme, so how can they now just confiscate ~£35 per week, and pocket the contributions we long since made to fund this! Anyone working from 1978 to 2002 is due to be quietly robbed, but the government thinks this is fair game! Anybody got any good ideas what to do about it?