It is with regret that I must share the news with the pensions industry that ‘not saving for a pension soon enough’, is not life’s biggest regret by the age of 50.
It is in fact, according to a survey by SunLife, not seeing enough of the world. Other regrets that ranked in above saving for a pension included smoking too much, losing touch with old friends, putting on too much weight and marrying the wrong person. Saving for a pension came in at number six.
The survey also listed the top 50 things to do before you are 50, which included all the usual suspects such as buy a house, have kids, get married and fall in love, as well more unusual suggestions such as eating fish and chips on a pier, learning to say no to your mother and visiting Stonehenge.
Working in the industry leads us to focus on the need to save for a pension; we are after all, very aware of how important it is. However, this study of 2,000 over 50s is a reminder that for most there are many things much more important.
Even at the age of 50, when people are nearing pension age, their biggest regret is not seeing enough of the world. This does make me think we will see a surge in people accessing their pension pots at 55 to fund a worldwide cruise, but hopefully they’ll remember number six on their list and stop at two weeks in Europe.
However, unlike smoking too much, which once the damage is done, there is not much you can do about it, people can help increase their pension savings. Yes, they should have started saving for a pension earlier, that can’t be changed, but encouraging them to save more now before their retirement can help them change their regrets.
That’s why even though we go on relentlessly about the need to save for a pension, it is needed and welcomed at every stage. For the millennials newly auto-enrolled who want to see as much of the world as possible, to those in their forties paying off mortgages and bringing up families and those in their fifties with regrets of not saving sooner. Everybody needs to hear the message.
We know there are more important things to life, but saving for a pension, financially, is one of the most important things in life.