Guest comment: Uncertain times for savers

Written by Pensions Policy Institute director Chris Curry

We all know that the world is changing, we just cannot be sure exactly how.

In these current uncertain times, we have been looking ahead decades, rather than months, to see how changes in the way we live might impact on the way we save, and how individuals, employers, government, technology and savings providers might need to change to help people adjust to this shifting landscape.

People are living longer and this is a key challenge for society. There are additional costs of the future life arising from changes in work, health, family and housing.

As a result, the savings landscape will need to become more flexible reflecting a complex multi-stage life (incorporating longer working lives as well as caring, retraining and flexible working) as opposed to a traditional three-stage education-work-retirement life.

Not everyone is prepared for change. YouGov research for the PPI shows that among 18-39 year olds, one-third want to have one job for the majority of their working lives.

If nothing changes in terms of pensions policy, savings products and incentives, it could be hard for consumers to stay financially secure during a more complex longer life. The risk of being financially vulnerable in the short term can be a barrier to long-term saving.

A simpler more accessible savings landscape might help individuals, but it is still likely that individuals will need to save more as well as save smarter.

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