Last month Age UK held a small discussion event with Pensions Minister Ros Altmann, hosted by the think tank Reform. The purpose of the meeting was to have a frank conversation with representatives from the pensions industry, consumer groups and trade unions about the need for more people to save more for their retirements.
How to persuade people to save money into a pension when they’re trying to manage mortgage payments, childcare bills and the day-to-day costs of life are a huge challenge for all of us.
And the message about the importance of pensions for providing an income in retirement is not helped by some government policy, which for some people can reduce confidence in lifetime saving; the momentous reform of pensions, the so-called ‘freedom and choice’ reforms enable people to have more control over their savings but makes it even more vital that we all fully understand the implications and consequences of our financial decisions and can trust the financial services in which we have invested.
Age UK’s interest in these issues is self-explanatory. We want the millions of current and future pensioners to enjoy a decent income in retirement and be equipped to make well informed decisions about how to make this a reality.
The changes to private pensions, the introduction of the single tier state pension, and the rising state pension age make it harder than ever for people to plan. There have been so many changes. We’ve seen a huge leap in the number of calls to our advice line and requests to local Age UKs from people wanting help.
Age UK’s fundamental priority in this area to ensure that older people on mid and lower incomes get a decent outcome throughout their retirement. Some stability and certainty wouldn’t go amiss either to build confidence in the security of our retirement savings. This is certainly what I need to help me think about my own retirement and how much of my fairly limited savings I choose to put away for some as yet undecided date in the future.
We are pleased that Baroness Altmann is clearly very committed to making a difference as she grapples with the challenge of getting more people to understand the need to save earlier and save more, and this is something we will continue to work with the Government and financial services sector to improve.