Top 5 steps to help employees engage with their pensions

The need to support employees to engage with their pensions and retirement savings has never been more important. Many workplaces now provide financial wellbeing programmes to help their employees engage with their pensions and understand the choices to be made at retirement.

To help with this, WEALTH at work have included a list of the top 5 steps to help your employees engage with their pensions:

TOP 5 STEPS TO HELP EMPLOYEES ENGAGE WITH THEIR PENSIONS

1)    Empower employees with financial education: Whilst companies may provide some information via a website or leaflet, actually having someone to speak to about their pension savings and retirement income options is far more engaging.  In fact, some of the UK’s leading employers are using either virtual or face-to-face seminars to help their employees. This should be tailored by career stage including:

Early-career – getting in the savings habit: Auto-enrolment has helped enormously to ensure people are contributing to pensions. However, support is needed to understand what level of income this may generate in retirement and whether contribution levels should be increased – perhaps with additional contributions from the employer. This can be difficult when the monthly budget is tight so broader money management issues may need to be considered too.

Mid-career – staying on course: A mid-career ‘financial MOT’ can help people to see if their pensions and other retirement savings are on target, and what to do if they’re not. Topics can include reviewing financial goals as well as starting to understand how income may be generated in retirement and ensuring investments are being managed in line with this e.g. an investment glide path to cash and bonds is probably not appropriate if wishing to go into drawdown.

Pre-retirement – retiring well: In the years before retirement, support should be provided to help with planning for retirement and understanding retirement income options, clearing debt and maximising pension benefits and other savings in a tax efficient way. Then, around a year or two before retirement, people may also need help to implement their plan including thinking about their retirement goals, how to generate retirement income, understanding the risks, tax planning and how to seek further guidance and regulated financial advice.

2)    Offer access to supporting tools: A number of other methods are also available to support staff depending on their preferred learning style and work environment such as interactive tools, videos and animations, or even an online ‘Financial Healthcheck’ covering areas such as understanding pensions and the income options at retirement.

3)    Run financial guidance sessions: One-to-one financial guidance or coaching sessions could be particularly useful for those who need a deeper level of knowledge around their options, which is especially relevant for those at retirement. These could be delivered via a video call or via the telephone and can really help employees understand what their next steps should be and help them decide if they would like further support such as regulated financial advice

4)    Provide access to regulated financial advice: This is particularly useful for those at the point of retirement who want to understand their personal financial situation and may have more complex questions about their pensions and retirement income. Rather than leaving individuals to go it alone, many employers facilitate employee access to reputable advisory firms that have appropriate qualifications, an exemplary regulatory record and transparent and fair pricing.

5)    Bring in a provider: An increasing number of employers are now turning to specialist financial wellbeing and retirement service providers to help their employees engage with their pensions throughout their career. Taking an active approach and supporting employees with the help of reputable firms, will make the whole process far more robust, as well as helping them to make the most of their life savings.

Jonathan Watts-Lay, Director, WEALTH at work comments;

“We find that individuals who access our financial education and guidance programmes emerge more confident, knowledgeable and more able to make informed decisions about their pensions and retirement. It has been no surprise to see significant numbers of attendees taking action and changing their retirement plans, increasing pension contributions and seeking out regulated financial advice as a result. For example, we find that about 80% of seminar attendees request a call-back for further guidance or advice following a retirement financial education session.”

He adds; “It is vital that employers take steps to help their workforce take control of their finances, especially when it comes to securing financial security in retirement. This should lead to better outcomes for all.”

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