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Home > Opinion > Tony Hazell

Tony Hazell: Missing pensions are a cause for concern

Six months ago I began writing a new column in the Daily Mail dealing with readers’ financial problems.

By Tony Hazell | Published Jan 19, 2012 | comments

So what was Mr Hoban’s reply? “People are learning about providing for themselves. We need to think very carefully about what we do to improve education and understanding of what savings could mean for retirement income.”

People are learning to provide for themselves? Really Mr Hoban? It would have been more accurate to say that most people are learning to provide for themselves with the exception of MPs who have done absolutely nothing to tackle their own lavish pensions.

Yes, Mr Hoban. Those working in the private sector are learning to fend for themselves. Even those in the public sector face paying more. But within the closeted cloisters of Westminster nothing has changed.

If MPs had defined contribution pensions you can bet your bottom dollar annuities and other forms of retirement income would take a greater priority.

Shifting focus

Those IFAs who tackled Mr Hoban are barking up the right tree. A report from Prudential underlined the dire plight of older workers concluding that those retiring this year are expecting an annual pension of £15,500 – an astonishing £3000 fall in just four years.

Expected retirement incomes have fallen by more than £1000 over the past year alone.

And there is little hope in sight. The UK’s status as a relative haven means that competition for gilts is hotter than ever.

The Debt Management Office last week sold £700m of index-linked gilts with a negative real return. There has been much focus on the plight of pensioners whose savings interest has reduced to little more than zero. But there is at least hope that interest rates will eventually rise again.

Those who wish to retire and take an annuity now will pay for greedy bankers, inept regulation and government profligacy for the rest of their lives – whatever happens to the world economy.

Tony Hazell writes for the Daily Mail’s Money Mail section. Email:t.hazell@gmail.com

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