UK pension system is "out of date"

15 October 2013

The UK pension system is "not fit for purpose", according to research carried out for MetLife by pensions expert Dr Ros Altmann.

Altmann's analysis says the current system is "out of date" and new thinking is required urgently to ensure savers have a chance of a decent retirement income.

MetLife surveyed more than 2,000 adults for its Time for Change survey; it found 60% do not understand their pension, and do not know whether they understand the risks of a defined contribution scheme. That figure rises to a massive 75% of people in the 18-24 age group.  

With auto-enrolment rolling out to thousands more by the end of the year, Altmann is concerned that a "one-size fits all approach does not fit any more". Rising life expectancy and a tendency to work past retirement age means that other solutions are needed, she says.

Just 25% of those surveyed said they would retire straight away once they reach age 65. Instead, half of those aged 50-60 want to work past 65, with 54% saying they will not consider themselves as "old" until they reach their 70s or, for 28%, their 80s.

Altmann says retirement is becoming a "process" rather than an "event", and the retirement market needs to broaden options with increased flexibility that "recognises the changes in working life and the increased uncertainty of investment markets".

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Guaranteeing capital could be one new option, as 67% of savers said they would be more inclined to save into a pension if they were assured of its value. Some 72% would like a guaranteed income.

Metlife also surveyed 144 financial advisers; they believe just a third of their clients will achieve their desired retirement income.

This article was written for our sister website Money Observer

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