Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Pensions: 70% to get back over twice what they put in

The majority of people who save into a pension will be better off during retirement than if they had not made provisions, a report said today.

For around 95% of people the projected improvement to their retirement income will be greater than the cost of the contributions they make, even once inflation is taken into account.

Over 70% of savers can also expect to get back more than twice what they put into a pension, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.

The report added that there was no readily-identifiable group among working age people who, on average, could not expect to gain back more than they put into a pension.

The research, which is based on 'reasonable assumptions about the future', found that although there were some risks inherent in saving, the risk of under-saving and under-provision for retirement was far greater.

The report comes ahead of the introduction of auto-enrolment for workers in 2012.

Under the move, employees will automatically be enrolled into their company pension scheme or low-cost personal accounts if their employer does not offer their own scheme, although they will retain the right to opt out.

Individuals will contribute 4% of their pay, with their employer paying in 3% and the Government contributing 1%.

The introduction of auto-enrolment and personal accounts was one of the key recommendations made by the Turner Commission, but concerns have been expressed that some workers could be worse off under the new regime, as the increase in their pension income would be offset by the loss of means-tested benefits.

Minister of Pensions and the Ageing Society Rosie Winterton said: "This report makes clear that most people can expect their savings to make them better off in retirement.

"Rather than putting your money under a mattress, sensible saving is about making your money work harder for you, whether it is in a pension or in other ways.

"The research confirms that we are absolutely right in moving forward with the recommendations of the Turner Commission and the decision to introduce auto-enrolment in 2012."

TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "This rigorous research shows that the great bulk of people are likely to be better off in retirement when auto-enrolment into an employer scheme or a personal account starts in 2012.

"It should close down the argument from those who say that means-tested benefits will make such pensions saving a bad deal for substantial groups in the workforce. Talk of mis-selling the new pensions has always been a strange use of language. After today's report it will be downright irresponsible."

Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "This welcome report clearly shows that, although there have been concerns about the interaction between pensions and means-tested benefits, the vast majority of people should benefit from saving after the 2012 reforms."

But Mervyn Kohler, special adviser for Help the Aged, said: "People don't always fit into neat and tidy boxes and for a few, joining a pension scheme might only result in a fall in their possible income from means-tested benefits.

"The economic analysts have done their work - now we need to build a structure of advice and guidance which can help individuals around that margin come to the right decision."

The Pensions Policy Institute also warned that the findings needed "careful interpretation" as they were based on a specific set of assumptions which "may, or may not, transpire in the real world".

It added that a minority of people would not get back the value of their own contributions after taking account of inflation due to the impact their savings would have on the means-tested benefits for which they would qualify.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Latest News

Latest Sport

Latest Showbiz