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Two-thirds of over-45s 'ignoring pensions'

Published 29/07/2015

Some 63% of over-45s said they pay little or no attention to their pension
Some 63% of over-45s said they pay little or no attention to their pension
Some 63% of over-45s said they pay little or no attention to their pension

Nearly two-thirds of people aged over 45 who are not yet retired admit to paying little or no attention to their pensions, a survey has found.

The findings could mean that more than 10 million pots are being left largely unmonitored across the UK, according to an estimate from Aviva, which commissioned the research.

Some 63% of over-45s said they pay little or no attention to their pension. Those who are further away from retirement are most likely to spend no time reviewing their pension, although a quarter (25%) of those retiring within the next two years still fail to dedicate any time towards doing this.

Clive Bolton, managing director, retirement solutions, Aviva UK Life, said: "An alarming proportion of the UK's pensions pots are being left unmonitored, with many simply ignoring their pension statements and hoping for the best."

Half (49%) of those surveyed said they do nothing about the routine information they receive about their pension, including one in 10 (12%) who do not even read it.

One in five (20%) savers in Scotland said they do not read the pension information they receive, making this the most likely area in the survey for people not to read their pension updates.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of people surveyed in Yorkshire and Humberside said they do nothing about the pension updates they receive, which was the highest percentage out of the regions surveyed.

Across the findings, just over one third (37%) of people use the information they receive to check whether their pension savings are on track. An even smaller proportion (7%) discuss this with a financial expert.

Common reasons for ignoring annual statements were that people said they do not know how to manage their pensions, or that the pensions were so small that they did not think they were worth bothering with. Several people were also putting off looking at their statements until they were ready to retire.

Among those savers with more than one pension, just 27% said they manage them all very closely while 34% ignore their secondary pots completely.

Just 14% of those surveyed have consolidated their pension pots or intend to do so in the future.

New freedoms were introduced in April to make it easier for people aged 55 and over with a defined contribution (DC) pension to take their money how they wish, rather than being required to buy a regular income called a retirement annuity.

The Government and regulators have been warning pension savers to beware of scams trying to trick them out of their cash. Tell-tale signs of a possible scam include someone calling out of the blue and offering a free pensions review, companies offering early access to your money and promises of too-good-to-be-true returns.

Aviva's research was based on a survey among more than 1,500 people aged over 45 years old who have not yet retired.

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