Pension Freedom 

One in 14 likely to make poor pension choice

One in 14 likely to make poor pension choice

Half of those aged 40-plus have a basic understanding of the key retirement factors that will influence their pension decisions, according to Just Group.

Research conducted for Just from 5 to 12 March 2018 with a sample of 2,102 UK adults aged 40 plus showed the knowledge or intentions of half that group put them at greater risk of failing to meet their own retirement needs.

One in 14 (7 per cent) were found to be at high risk of making poor later-life financial decisions.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at Just Group, said: "What we have found is
that half (50 per cent) have an adequate idea of what the state will provide, with those closer to retirement having a better understanding of longevity.

"Coupled with realistic expectations about what they might do with their pension, it leads us to conclude they are on track to avoid the worst retirement pitfalls."

The research examines understanding of key factors such as longevity, the level of state
support they can expect to receive in retirement and attitudes towards accessing and spending private pension savings.

The index also indicated that one in 14 (7per cent) lacked the basic knowledge and the remaining four in 10 (43 per cent) were weak in some key areas.

The youngest respondents (40 to 44) and those just aged less than 55 - the age at which most people can access their pension cash - were more likely to be at high risk of blowing their pension pots.

Mr Lowe said: "Once we focused on those who were planning to fully cash in their pension
at 55 the proportion of those at high risk doubled to 14 per cent."

He said this was because these age groups are more likely to want to access all their pension cash early with no intention of using it for post-retirement income.

He said that while knowledge and intentions may generally be adequate, there was a
difference between avoiding bad choices and actively making good ones, highlighting the
importance of reinforcing knowledge with impartial guidance and regulated advice so that
people fully understand the longer-term consequences of their choices when accessing their pension benefits.

Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of The Pensions Advisory Service, said: "Unfortunately, seeking guidance on retirement matters is not the social norm. It was not needed when people received guaranteed income from the state and their employer.

"We need to make sure they know where they can seek help." 

To achieve this, and make pensions guidance a new social norm, she believes it is necessary to put in place interventions such as a mid-life review and having a guidance appointment arranged before people access their pension pots.

Ms Cracknell said: "Guidance does not mean making people into financial experts - it is about helping them formulate the right questions to ask of themselves or others, so that they feel confident in making informed decisions about their financial needs in retirement."