Scottish Widows 

Financial advice pushed on Pension Awareness Day

Financial advice pushed on Pension Awareness Day

Retirement planning is being brought to the fore this weekend for Pension Awareness Day, with an emphasis being placed on the need for financial advice prior to retirement age. 

A team of experts from Pension Geeks, Scottish Widows, government-backed Pension Wise and the Money Advice Service will be touring the UK on a bus and offering free guidance, information, drop-in sessions and interactive tools and tips. 

As part of Pension Awareness Day, which is tomorrow (Saturday 15 September) those visiting the bus will have free access to pension experts, pension profiling tools, and help with finding out how they can get access to individual pensions advice.  

The bus has been touring since 10 September, starting in Edinburgh and ending up in London tomorrow (15 September).  

From 17 September, the bus will spend three weeks on the road touring some of Britain's biggest employers and Scottish Widows has brought in Johnson Fleming and Brunsdon Employee Benefits in order to help answer questions from employees about workplace pensions  

Robert Cochran, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, said: "For many people, pensions are confusing and they don't know where to begin with understanding their own pension.

"For the 2018 tour, we have created some fun, interactive ways to help people get to grips with long-term saving, as well as one-on-one access to experts – it will be the best one yet."

Alistair Wilson, savings expert at Zurich, said that pension awareness needs to go beyond the recognition of the need to save for retirement and highlighted the need to speak to financial advisers.  

Mr Wilson said: "Pension awareness doesn't just stop at recognition of the need to save for a comfortable retirement, it is also crucial that income is understood once retirement age is reached.

"More than 430,000 retirees are using income drawdown, taking a regular income from their drawdown pot and increasing or decreasing it to suit their needs.

"However, thousands are withdrawing the same amount from their pension regardless of how the stock market performs and this puts them at risk of outliving their savings.

"Retirement isn't simply a case of 'before' and 'after'; it is made up of several different stages and this makes setting the right level of income even more important. Speaking to a financial adviser or seeking guidance can help navigate the options available."

Scottish Widows' latest Retirement report, published on Wednesday (12 September) revealed only 55 per cent of people are saving adequately for retirement, while 55 per cent of workers are not saving anything. 

Peter Bradshaw, director of Selectapension, said advisory tools and technology both have parts to play in solving the engagement problem.  

He said: "Auto-enrolment and the contribution increase in April have proved effective in kickstarting people's retirement planning but younger generations still need to do more save enough to fund a comfortable retirement.  

"Engagement remains to be the major problem. There are a range of advisory tools and technology, like Pension Monster, that could help them understand the options available and, importantly, indicate how much they should be saving to achieve their aims.