Will government make planning your pension simpler?

It can be hard to tell if you are saving enough for your pension.
It can be hard to tell if you are saving enough for your pension.

Saving for a pension is one of life’s head-in-the-sand moments for too many people.

When you’re starting out in your working life, the idea that you should think about retirement is about as welcome as a fuzzy Facebook photo memory from a drunken night out.

And before workplace pension schemes became compulsory, it’s been easy to opt out from building a pension pot - especially when you need every penny just to get through till the next pay day.

But even for those who do save, it can be hard to tell if they’re saving enough.

If people move around employers, how can they possibly tot it all up to discover if they’ll have enough to live on?

Following a lot of campaigning by Which? and other organisations, the government recognised these worries and is now due to launch a “pensions dashboard” in 2019.

It will be an online tool to help people track how much they’ve saved in private and workplace pensions and enable them to check how much state pension they’re likely to get.

Ultimately is should encourage people to save more, or at least prepare them for the financial reality of life after retirement.

But at Which? we believe the government needs to set out much more detailed plans about how it’s going to work.

For instance, there are growing concerns that it won’t be compulsory for all pension schemes to contribute to the dashboard.

And it remains unclear whether it will project how people’s retirement savings will grow over time.

The government really needs to set out how it will introduce the dashboard so that it genuinely helps people see all information they need on all their pensions in one place.

If it’s to work in the way we hope it needs to be a comprehensive and easy-to-use system for people to keep track of their savings.

Only then can people properly plan and make informed decisions for their retirement and this great concept can become a genuine public service.

* Send your consumer queries to askalex@which.co.uk

PENSION POINTERS

The average person will have 11 employers in their lifetime - which could mean 11 different pensions.

The Pensions Advisory Service has launched an online tool to help people track down lost pensions, while The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) also has a free Pension Tracing Service.

Your annual pension statements tell you how much you have saved, and what you’re likely to receive when you retire.

If you can’t find these, ask your employer’s pension department for help.

The Which? free pension calculator makes it simple to find out how much you’re on course to receive based on the current size of your retirement nest-egg.