BLOG: Scare stories won’t get the young saving into a pension

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22/01/2014
For those of us in our 20s and 30s we sit behind the noise that we can't afford to save sufficiently into a pension.
BLOG: Scare stories won’t get the young saving into a pension

This is my generation and these are our worries – we can’t raise enough for a house deposit or are just managing the mortgage, we don’t have enough left at the end of the month to save or invest. In fact many want to be freeing up their cash flow, not locking it away into a pension for the future.

Research announced today showing a person on the average wage of £27,000 would need to save over six and a half times more than they now do to build up a pot of £240,000 at retirement is likely to cause greater disengagement from the very people who need to act. The figures quoted don’t help motivate and encourage retirement saving, the shock and scare tactics simply means they tune out.

My generation feel that they are beaten before they have even had chance to start the pension saving rat race.

There is no denying that it is financially difficult for many at the moment. But what many young people in their 20s and 30s don’t seem to grasp is that there is unlikely to be a fairy godmother type solution which will magically appear in the future.

Many draw comfort that everyone seems to be the same situation, the misguided belief that few people in their 20s and 30s can afford to save into a pension, providing the excuse to hide behind.

Not saving into a pension is likely to lead to poverty in retirement, a situation where the elderly have no choice but to choose between heating or food. Despite this logical connection, few people with inadequate pension savings ever really believe that they will end up in that situation.

We need to empower this generation to feel that they have the opportunity to decide their own financial future. We need more people to realise that pension planning is not for the rich or those nearing retirement, it matters to us all and it not all about how much money you have, saving regularly and starting early is important.

It means setting goals, deciding an approximate age of retirement, establishing an idea of the income you may need and working backwards financially. Taking time to engaging with retirement planning is often the biggest hurdle to cross, it is often not making the financial contributions.

Auto enrolment will force the hand of pension savings for large numbers of the working population and this is good news, but quoting percentage figures in terms of contributions and projected pension figures mean nothing to many young people.

If pension contributions were seen as lifestyle units in food, gas, electric in retirement, more people would understand the extent of their saving shortfall and be more inclined to act. Young people will only increase their pension contributions by the six times the research says is needed, when they start seeing their pension in terms of their lifestyle destiny.

Accepting that pounds saved now is the key to a better future.

Rory Stuart is a financial planner at Sanlam Private Wealth

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