Pension Planning Apathy BLOGJanuary 21, 2016 11:20 am
More than ten million pots are being left largely un-monitored
Individuals are living longer, meaning that savings have to fund a longer period of retirement.
However, there has been a well-documented decline in pensions saving over time. Many people do
not think about retirement as they consider it’s too far in the future and almost two thirds (63%) of
over-45s who are not yet retired admit they pay little or no attention to their pensions, leading to
more than ten million pots being left largely un-monitored.
The findings form part of research from Aviva which also highlights that two fifths (41%) of over-45s
never spend any time planning and reviewing their pensions, while almost a third (29%) spend just
one day a year or less doing this.
Failing to dedicate any time
Those who are further away from retirement are most likely to spend no time reviewing their
pension, but a quarter (25%) of those retiring in two years or less still fail to dedicate any time
towards doing this.
Among those with more than one pension, just 27% manage them all very closely, while 34%
ignore their secondary pots completely – including a worrying 24% who ignore their main pension
pot too. Even among those who have just one pension pot, 33% do not pay any attention to it.
Unclear about the types of pensions
The majority (61%) of over-45s with a personal pension scheme have only joined one scheme,
although more than a quarter (28%) have started two or more. A similar proportion (29%) of those
with the most common type of company pension – defined contribution – has two or more.
However, many over-45s aren’t sure how many pension schemes they have started. Overall, 6%
don’t know how many personal pension schemes they have, rising to 7% who are unclear on the
number of defined contribution schemes and 9% who don’t know how many defined benefit
schemes they have. This may suggest that some savers are unclear about the types of pensions
they have and/or are not closely involved in managing them.
Too late to make any improvements
Half (49%) of over-45s do nothing about the routine information they receive about their pension,
including one in ten (12%) who don’t even read it. Only a third (37%) use the information to check if
their pension savings are on track and act upon it. An even smaller proportion (7%) discuss this
with a professional financial adviser.
One in ten (11%) over-45s ignore their annual statements because they say they don’t know how
to manage their pensions, while the same proportion believe their pensions are so small they aren’t
worth bothering with. 8% delay looking at them until they are ready to retire – when it could already
be too late to make any improvements on their financial situation.
Top three reasons that over-45s ignore their pension statement
I don’t know how to manage my pensions (11%)
My pensions are worth so little they’re not worth bothering about (11%)
I prefer to look at it when I’m ready to retire (8%)
However, people tend to make more effort to monitor their pensions the closer they are to
retirement – for example, only 7% of those retiring in two years or less believe their small pension
pots are not worth the effort, compared to 11% who are retiring in six to ten years.
Multiple pension schemes
Just 14% have consolidated their pension pots or intend to do so in the future. A fifth (17%) will
keep their multiple pension schemes separate, and 13% are waiting for their pension provider to
contact them before deciding what to do with their pots. More than one in ten (14%) prefer to keep
things simple by having just one pension pot and don’t intend to change this in the future.
Of those who have consolidated their pots, 21% did so because they took the advice of their
professional financial adviser – however, nearly the same proportion (19%) did so because they
found it easier to manage.
Planning in an informed way for retirement
An alarming proportion of the UK’s pension pots are being left un-monitored, with many simply
ignoring their pension statements and hoping for the best. At the heart of this is how involved
people are with their pensions. At the very least, people need to understand what their total
savings are across all of their pension pots, so they can plan in an informed way for their
retirement. To discuss any concerns you may have about your retirement provision, please contact
us – we look forward to hearing from you.
The Real Retirement Report is designed and produced by Aviva in consultation with ICM
Research. The above findings are based on an online survey carried out among more than 1,500
over-45s who have not yet retired.
 ONS Pension Trends Chapter 7 (October 2014) estimates there are 8.1 million active
occupational pensions and 8.2 million active members of private pension schemes. 63% of 16.3
million = 10,269,000.
INFORMATION IS BASED ON OUR CURRENT UNDERSTANDING OF TAXATION
LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS. ANY LEVELS AND BASES OF, AND RELIEFS FROM,
TAXATION ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE.
A PENSION IS A LONG-TERM INVESTMENT. THE FUND VALUE MAY FLUCTUATE AND CAN
GO DOWN. YOUR EVENTUAL INCOME MAY DEPEND UPON THE SIZE OF THE FUND AT
RETIREMENT, FUTURE INTEREST RATES AND TAX LEGISLATION.