Lynn Graves, head of new business development, corporate pensions, at Scottish Widows, advises a business owner wants to help his people save for retirement
Question: I run a retail distribution business, employing 400 people who were recently auto-enrolled into the company pensions scheme. The process went smoothly, but now I’m finding that staff are asking for more information about pensions and their retirement planning generally. This is partly due to changes around accessing pensions savings, as announced in the budget. I would like to provide more support to help them make the right decisions about their retirement. What are my options?
M Fairbrother, Manchester
Lynn Graves: I am very pleased to hear that auto-enrolment implementation went smoothly but as many other employers also realise, simply auto-enrolling your employees into a pension scheme is not the end of the matter. Quite rightly, now that they have joined the scheme they will be thinking about what it means for them, and asking questions.
For example, by 2018 the total minimum contribution for auto-enrolment will have risen to eight per cent, but will that give them enough money for their retirement? For many, the answer will probably be no. From our research* almost a third (29 per cent) of people recognise that this level of contribution will give them an income gap in retirement and many others (23 per cent) simply don’t know. As their employer, how do you encourage and support them in putting more money into a pension?
Navigating the “at retirement” market has always been tricky, but reforms announced in the budget will mean that in the future people will have more choice and flexibility around what to do with their pension savings. In order to help make these decisions, workers will need more information and support than ever before about their retirement options and here your pension provider or adviser may be able to help.
Many offer access to workplace savings platforms giving clear, up-to-date information about saving for retirement, as well as online planning tools that allow employees to consider various outcomes based on how much they are paying into their pension scheme. Very few companies will have the in-house resources to supply this sort of financial education and these platforms offer a comprehensive range of support right across your workforce, especially given that people’s aspirations about their retirement have changed dramatically in recent years.
The days of most people expecting to work until they are 65 have become a thing of the past. Some may hope to retire sooner, others may prefer or need to continue working beyond that age. Rather than making their retirement date a fixed point, they now have many choices about when they will stop working. But this will call for careful planning. It is vital that people know how much money they will need to put away for retirement. The more they understand the effect of increasing their retirement savings and putting more money into a pension scheme, the better able they will be to achieve their goals.
As an employer, you can support them by arranging access to the information and knowledge they need in order to make the right decisions about the retirement income and lifestyle they desire. And depending on what people decide to do with their pension pot, that conversation may carry on through into their retirement.