Research highlights Brits' lack of interest in pensions

More than half (55 per cent) of Britons do not look for pensions information from any source, according to research from Infinite Global and YouGov.

A report launched by the duo, titled Pensions: Solving the Perception Puzzle, called for the information problem to be addressed through the simplification of pensions material, and beseeched those within the provider and advisory community to engage with the media on a more human level, rather than “only focusing on technical subject matter”.

Among 18-24 year-olds, the proportion of people not looking for information about pensions at all reaches almost three-quarters (71 per cent), and is even higher (83 per cent) for those in full-time education.

Just over a quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed said they got none, or very little, of their information about pensions from the media, while just 15 per cent said they get all, most or some of their information about pensions from the media as a trusted source.

The report suggested that the lack of engagement with media sources had coincided with “a steady and consistent decline in the volume of mainstream media coverage of pensions issues over the past 10 years”.

Illustrating this, the report noted that pensions-related stories had been outnumbered by property-related stories by around three to one since 2015.

Infinite Global senior content and media strategist, Matthew Gilleard, said: “This research and our conversations with senior sector commentators show that the UK pensions landscape continues to be characterised by, at worst, mistrust, and at best, scepticism and disinterest.

“Whether people are mystified or mistrustful, engagement is the clear loser. There is a perception that pensions are frightening, confusing and something to be dealt with in later life. Fear, apathy and more immediate financial pressures conspire to create inaction.”

He opined that the industry was “unnecessarily weighed down by jargon and complexity”, and, while admitting that auto-enrolment was a “good starting point”, raised concerns that most people thought the current minimum contribution levels were sufficient.

Gilleard continued: “The picture is stark and the lessons are simple. Employers need to urgently increase communications with employees around pensions provision, and policymakers and regulators need to simplify the pensions landscape to provide more consistency and certainty. Together, these actions will help to promote a healthier public attitude towards long-term saving.”

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