What if pensions didn't exist?

Elderly womenPA

Imagine a world without private pensions. It's a strange concept but one that pension expert Michael Johnson thinks could become a reality by 2050.

He has predicted the demise of the private pension because, quite simply the word 'pension' doesn't resonate with young people in their 20s and 30s who are failing to save into them.

Johnson thinks that despite the government's efforts to getting people saving for their old age with the introduction of auto-enrolment, pensions are not a concept that appeal to younger people who want access to the money they are able to save.

He is a big supporter of linking ISAs and pensions and thinks young people should be encouraged to save into ISAs not pensions.

This is a controversial concept because everyone knows that if your money is easily accessible you are more likely to spend it. However, young people aren't looking to spend the money on holidays and booze, many are trying to save for a deposit on a property well into their 30s and others are hoping to put some money aside so they can have children.

There is often the misconception that younger people are feckless, that if they stopped throwing their money away on expensive clothes and gadgets they would be able to afford property and families and still have enough to save for retirement.

It's simply not true and is often the argument of the baby boomers who benefited from steady jobs, generous final salary pensions, and low house prices. The reality for those in their 20s and 30s has changed.

Whether pensions will cease to exist is a bold statement but there is certainly a problem with asking young people to tie up their money for an indeterminate amount of time when they will receive an indeterminate sum back – it's a not a great deal.

The truth is young people are weighing up their options and pensions do not add up for them, they are eager to build their lives now, in the present, rather than put the little money they can save on a bet that won't come in for 40 years.

Johnson said the aim for young people was 'to be a debt-free homeowner when they reach retirement. Nothing else' and I think this is a fair statement.

Trying to make your money stretch into two different types of savings and if it's reckless to want to make a better life for yourself now, they young people can be accused only of that.
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