Gransnet forums


LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 10-Mar-15 13:32:02

Confusion reigns: the case for a new Pensions Commission

Helen Creighton from the International Longevity Centre UK highlights the importance of reviewing pension policy in view of the increasing life expectancy and ongoing national economic and financial difficulties.

Helen Creighton

Confusion reigns: the case for a new Pensions Commission

Posted on: Tue 10-Mar-15 13:32:02


Lead photo

The International Longevity Centre advocates pension policy reform in light of the recent changes that have muddied the waters and made it difficult for retirees to determine how to save and prepare for the future.

We all know retirement is an uncertain business. Even at the best of times it is difficult to know how much money to save for retirement let alone how then to use those savings after leaving employment. Unfortunately the current political and economic environment seems to making the decision making process more confusing than ever.

Pensions policy has seen a huge number of changes taking place over the last five years. Some of these, such as Auto-Enrolment and reforms to public sector pensions, came after years of consultation. Others, such as the new pension freedoms which come into place from April, were a surprise to both savers and pensions providers. Sudden and deep changes to the pensions landscape make it harder to plan for the future, as everyone comes to terms with the new rules of the game.

Uncertainty around retirement is now being made even worse by low income growth and low investment returns. Between 2009 and 2014 average incomes in the UK did not keep up with inflation, meaning households faced a decrease in their spending power in real terms. When incomes are not growing savings fall and indebtedness rises.

Increasing longevity means individuals are spending a greater proportion of their lives in retirement, making pensions funding an increasingly important issue.

At the same time, some commentators argue we are entering a "new normal" period of relatively low investment returns, with average annual returns on bonds and equities expected to be at least 50% smaller than they were in the 30 years prior to the financial crisis. So not only are people finding it harder to put money away at the end of the month they are also finding that those savings are growing more slowly.

While political and economic uncertainty is making retirement planning harder, life expectancy is continuing to rise. By the year 2020, women aged 65 are expected to live to the age of 90 - almost 30% longer than they were expected to live in 1990. Increasing longevity means individuals are spending a greater proportion of their lives in retirement, making pensions funding an increasingly important issue.

It is with this in mind that the International Longevity Centre UK is proposing a new Pensions Commission to take a holistic, non-partisan view of pensions policy. The Commission would focus on ensuring adequate retirement incomes for the long term and could set out a road map for future pensions stability. A sustainable pensions system will protect the retirement prospects not just of today’s grandparents but also those of their children and even grandchildren. We believe that a commission has the potential to garner cross party support and should be established as early as possible in the next Parliament.

By Helen Creighton

Twitter: @ILCUK

soontobe Tue 10-Mar-15 13:40:02

A definite yes from me.

loopylou Tue 10-Mar-15 14:08:13

And me

gillybob Wed 25-Mar-15 14:09:48

So called "Auto-Enrolment" is going to be crippling for small employers such as myself and is just another form of job tax to be imposed on anyone crazy enough to start their own business. There are 7 people in our company 4 of whom are over 55, 1 who is 53 (me) and 2 young ones who will undoubtedly move on once they have received the qualifications for which we are sponsoring (paying for) them to do. Being small we are unable to compete with the wages offered by other much larger local employers such as Nissan. We do run a small pension scheme that anyone is able to join but why should we be forced into paying into it? Wasn't that what emplyers NI was supposed to be for?