Personal Pension 

Pensions body consults on national retirement income targets

Pensions body consults on national retirement income targets

The Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association (PLSA) has launched a consultation on the creation of new national retirement income targets.

These targets are currently used successfully in Australia, said the pensions body, and will provide savers with tangible income goals in order to achieve different standards of living in retirement.

According to research from PLSA, more than three quarters of individuals admit that they do not know how much they need in later life.

Four out of five people said a national retirement income target would help them plan for later life.

As part of the consultation, further in-depth analysis will be undertaken to determine exact income levels to achieve the three levels of retirement - minimum, modest and comfortable.

However, as part of PLSA's initial research, savers between 55 and 64-years-old suggested that for a single person that minimum should be more than £10,000 to less than £15,000, modest between £15,000 and £25,000 and comfortable more than £25,000.

According to Graham Vidler, director of external affairs at the PLSA, the pensions body is keen on hearing from financial advisers as retirement planning is one of the areas that people frequently speak to their intermediaries about.

He said: “We look forward to working closely with stakeholders to build a retirement savings market which is truly focused on the end users – savers.”

Tom McPhail, head of policy at Hargreaves Lansdown, argued that the government needs “to champion a clear policy around promoting saving and investing”.

He said: “We are in a new post-paternalistic paradigm for pensions and savings where the traditional guarantees from pension schemes and insurance companies have been stripped away in exchange for freedom, choice and personal responsibility.

"The government needs to respond to this and to focus on how we can engage people with their financial needs.”

Concerning specifically the PLSA proposal of creating retirement income targets, Mr McPhail said that the “concepts of minimum, modest and comfortable may well work for investors”.

However, this would work “most effectively if incorporated into retirement income calculators,” he said.

According to Darren Philp, director of policy at workplace pension provider The People’s Pension, “any clarity that can help people think about what they might need to save for a decent retirement in a decades time can only be a good thing”.

He said: “We need a simple target that brings retirement savings to life for people.

“We hope this consultation will make a difference in making it easier for people to save for their retirement.”

The PLSA will also be engaging with the government as part of the consultation process.

The deadline for submissions is 12 January 2018.

With members including 1,300 pension schemes and £1trn in assets, the PLSA has been vocal about its position, standing against the increase of the state pension age, and against the introduction a charge cap on non-advised drawdown, for example.