January... @Pensionsgirlieblog 08 January
Being a not-so-yummy mummy this is the first day I’ve been able to pack the moppet off to school and get down to some paid work, but I appreciate that most of you are a week in already. The immediate tasks are meeting the 2 article deadlines set for today and getting this blog out. Obviously I could have done some of it while I was off but I made the decision to lock my laptop in the cupboard for the duration of the festive period and can’t say I regret it.
The big issues for 2018 are not too different from last year – helping people to understand the need to save adequately for their own retirement, guiding them towards and into suitable retirement solutions and trying to avoid potentially expensive mistakes at all points in between. Thanks to Brexit the associated agenda we are likely to be in a legislation-light year for pensions which should hopefully give us the chance to focus on these fundamentals rather than complicated new “allowances” which restrict rather than permit savings.
I am also doing dry January again, in order to lose weight and allow my liver to creep out from under the sofa without being swamped by seemingly interminable festive cheer. In order to support me my son has offered to go dry too, which is great. He is only 12 years old and doesn’t drink anyway but I guess it’s the thought that counts. What it does do is underline that it’s a lot easier to give something up if you’ve never started, which brings me neatly back to automatic enrolment. One of the huge advantages of having pension contributions deducted from salary is that you haven’t got it to spend. If we can get young people saving from the start of their employment it becomes the norm and is factored in before additional expenses are met. I don’t envy young people the extremely difficult decisions they face regarding paying off student loans and/or getting on to the housing ladder but AE does make it clear that retirement is a legitimate priority even – or perhaps even more so – for people who are likely to be working for a further 40 years or more.
Of course it is also essential that these savings are looked after. Having practiced what I preach for once, I opted to join the J L Pension Scheme in my twenties. Regrettably however, now that I’m looking to tidy things up they are saying they cannot find any trace of my membership and I am having great difficulty proving it. I remember joining and I remember contracting-out but I don’t have any salary slips, P60s or Terms of Employment from the deep distant past to evidence it. I won’t give up but the point is that I at least have some idea of what I’m looking for, many people with more than one past employment would not. This is where I hope the Pensions Dashboard will make a real difference, perhaps not for me and my generation but most certainly for those young savers who could find themselves automatically enrolled from age 18.