Pensions ‘like a foreign language’

pension confusion

pension confusionMillions of young workers could decide to pull out of auto-enrolment pension schemes due to a lack of understanding on the matter.

According to a poll by ICM for the Young Money report by financial services consultancy MRM, fewer than one in 10 (9.7%) 20 to 29-year-olds know the precise meaning of basic pensions terminology.

On other hand, an average of nearly one in four (23.3%) understand the exact meaning of simple French, German and Spanish phrases.

"You might say that pensions are like a foreign language to young British adults," said Michael Taggart, MRM director.

"On the one hand, auto-enrolment will soon mean all young workers will have a workplace pension, but without knowledge and understanding they might fail to see the benefits and opt out."

The figures

The survey of 2,012 UK adults found that a third (33%) know the exact meaning of the French for 'how old are you?', while one in five (20%) understand the German for 'what is your name?' and one in six (17%) for 'how are you?' in Spanish.

However, just over one in 10 (11%) said they understand what final pension salary means, while the same number declare to know the exact meaning of the term annuity.

In addition, only one in every 14 (7%) know what is meant by the term auto-enrolment.

Which? Money deputy editor Gareth Shaw,who sat on the panel for the Young Money report, said: "With automatic enrolment just around the corner, now is the time for the industry to pull out all the stops to ensure that a whole generation of new savers are not disenfranchised from planning for retirement.

"Failure to do so could jeopardise the well-being of an entire generation."

What is auto-enrolment?

Put simply, if your company has a pension scheme, the new auto-enrolment rules mean that you will be automatically enrolled into it.

The start dates for such pensions vary depending on the size of the firm you work for, but the first schemes will come into effect from October.

Ahead of these changes, it is important for you to familiarise yourself with your employer's obligations.

You can opt out of auto-enrolment, but every year you will have to sign a form saying you don't want to put money in that pension scheme. In a nut shell, you have to actively not want a pension if you don't want to pay into one.

However, don't be too hasty to opt out as the scheme will help you save valuable money for the future.