Are our pension schemes ready for revamp?

Money locked away

Money locked awayAre you paying a percentage of your monthly salary into a pension scheme to prepare for retirement?

If so, what do you think about recent claims that they're out of step with modern society and should be overhauled?

These are the opinions of Saga director general Dr Ros Altmann. She says that employers should be looking to make the schemes more flexible - for instance by offering help with paying off the student debts of younger workers.

Her comments come ahead of sweeping changes to the pensions system, with auto-enrolment for employees of larger companies due to begin this autumn in a bid to get more of us saving for our retirement.

But interestingly, Dr Altmann has called for employers to make it easier for people to get hold of their money when paying into a pension, saying that a lack of access to the savings pots is putting many people off. She also believes that forcing workers into a scheme will leave some cold.

"It is time to recognise that pensions may be past their 'sell-by' date and we should consider how we can make them fit better with people's lives," she said.

"Pensions are not the only savings vehicle worth having, yet Government policy is currently focused almost exclusively on getting people into pension schemes. This is understandable, but not optimal.

"Young people, or older workers on low earnings, or those in significant debt or saving for a house, do need to save or pay back student and other debt, but if they contribute to a pension scheme their money is locked up and they cannot access it until much later life."