“Can I rely on the state when I’m older?”
“How much will I actually get?”
“Will it be enough?”
These are some of the questions your staff could be starting to ask about their state pension, and they’re right to do so. As frightening as it may seem, the days are gone when we could simply depend on the state to see us through our old age.
Now, we’re not here to scare you, we’re just highlighting that many of us in the U.K. feel very uncertain when it comes to the state pension.
Why are people so uneasy?
Cast your mind back 10 years. In the days before the word ‘Brexit’ had ever been uttered, and we had very happily never heard of Covid19, we were suffering a different crisis, the longest recession felt in the UK in 50 years. In the 2010 spending review George Osbourne revealed his plan to save the UK economy £60bn. The state pension age would be raised to 67 by April 2028. This small change at government level would be felt by pensioners across the UK for years to come.
Now this was not the first change to the state pension (just look at the recent notable ‘Waspi’ campaign which started with the 1995 pension act), nor will it certainly be the last. It does highlight, however, that one of the key changeable aspects of a UK government in fiscal crisis (and let’s be honest, the economy’s not looking good currently) is the state pension and UK citizens simply cannot rely on it remaining fixed.
Today I used the government state pension age calculator. It didn’t fill me with much confidence.
With an open-ended statement that it might change in the future, I’m left questioning, when will I get my state pension? Will I ever get one at all?
So, what can we do about it?
Well fortunately, the state pension is not the only savings vehicle you or your staff have access to. Auto-enrolment may seem like a burden to employers at times, but they are actually playing a vital role in preparing their staff for retirement. Not all employees appreciate the benefit their business is providing for them in this way. Yes, auto-enrolment was ultimately established by a government trying to save some money (sound familiar?), but it’s actually a very good deal for the parties involved, both in terms of the free employer contribution and the tax savings from the government.
Take an interest in your workplace pension scheme, because for many people, this will be their primary source of income in retirement. If you have an online pension portal, log in and see what’s there. If not, dig out the letters or emails you have been sent. Most of all, don’t be afraid to ask. When it comes to your money, the more interest you take in it, the better, and in these uncertain times, complacence simply isn’t a good idea.
Duncan Peel – Head of Sales & Operations at OPTESS