Radical revamp of pensions urged

Piggy bank hammerPensions need a radical revamp, and even a new name, to make them less "frightening" and more attractive, the director-general of Saga has urged.

Schemes could also be made more flexible as people are being put off saving anything at all by the "stark choice" they face of either locking their money out of reach or not taking out a pension, Dr Ros Altmann said.
Speaking as the Government prepares to begin its landmark scheme to automatically enrol up to 10 million people into pensions from next month, Dr Altmann said that much of the language used around pensions was "alien" to many people.

She said: "I would like to find a new word for pension - lifetime savings or retirement savings - something that does not have negative connotations."

She argued that people often associated the word "pension" with scandals and disappointments, or something which was of relevance to older people only.

Dr Altmann said pensions were seen as "final and quite frightening" by many people, and attaching a mechanism to help workers take money out when they needed it could help to fire up people's imaginations, especially those of the younger generation. She said: "For me, the most important thing is to get people into the habit of saving. Pensions are just one product."

From October 1 the largest employers, those with 120,000 or more workers, must place eligible employees into schemes, with smaller firms gradually being enrolled in a staging process which will end in 2018.

The Government is introducing various measures aimed at making pension saving more simple and attractive to people, amid concerns that an ageing population is failing to put enough away for its later years.

Dr Altmann said automatic enrolment was a start towards encouraging people into long-term saving, but warned: "There is a danger of people being lulled into a false sense of security."

She said that people needed to realise that just saving the minimum amount required into a pension was unlikely to be enough to see them living comfortably through their later years.
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