Personal Pension  

Just 12% of people confident they can plan retirement: Aegon

Just 12% of people confident they can plan retirement: Aegon

Only 12 per cent of people are confident they can plan their retirement goals and invest to achieve the retirement they want, according to new research from Aegon.

A minority of savers are confident in a do it yourself approach to pensions and investments, found the OnePoll survey among 2,000 UK adults last month.

A quarter said they would be happy selecting a pension product themselves, while only a fifth feel confident they know how to access their pensions at retirement.

Article continues after advert

An overwhelming 78 per cent of respondents had not sought financial advice specifically about their pension provision. Three quarters said the prospect of having to pay for financial advice puts them off seeking help.

Among the 46 per cent of the population that has sought advice, 90 per cent said the service they received was good or they were satisfied, indicating the barrier is not the quality of advice on offer.

In contrast, a majority of people are happy to buy non-investment financial services products without advice, and almost two thirds of UK adults have a high degree of confidence choosing a savings account, while three fifths are happy choosing car insurance and home insurance independently.

People are happiest to seek advice regarding making an investment in the stock market, deciding how to best mitigate inheritance tax and when choosing a mortgage, all with around a quarter stating this.

However, just over a fifth would consider asking for advice on planning their pension goals, consolidating their pension pots, or selecting a pension product.

Duncan Jarrett, managing director for retail at Aegon, said that the scale of the mountain the industry and government has to climb when trying to bridge the advice gap is clear.

“The problem is also pressing given that the pension freedoms have introduced much greater flexibility but also a range of more complex choices at and through retirement.

He explained that the price comparison business model has meant the majority of people are happy making decisions when it comes to products where they can compare simple features and costs.

However, the difference when it comes to pension and investment decisions is marked. “Only a minority are confident of a DIY approach, yet only small numbers are willing to ask for help. This is despite the fact that 90 per cent of people who have taken advice were happy with the service which suggests it is the cost, rather than the service which is the biggest barrier.

Chris Hannant, director general of the Association of Professional Financial Advisers, added: “It’s a big decision so it’s important to get it right; the results are more or less in tune with the other stuff we’ve seen.”

ruth.gillbe@ft.com