Consumer apathy is a danger to new retirement choices

Article date: 8 October 2014

  • Consumer education and information is essential in the lead-up to April 2015 changes

Many of Britain’s over-55 year olds say the massive changes to retirement income announced in this year’s Budget will have no impact on them, research from Aviva’s latest Real Retirement Report shows.

As well as more than half (55%) of Britain’s unretired over-55s saying they won’t be affected by the freedom and choice changes, which take effect from April 2015, half (54%) are also adamant they won’t be revising their retirement plans.

The apparent disregard  for the pension changes comes despite 78% of unretired over-55s saying they are aware of the changes, which will enable people to use their pension savings how they wish, including taking all of their money in one lump sum.

Only one in ten (10%) say the changes will affect their plans, suggesting that many people do not yet fully understand the significance of the new retirement income choices, including the tax implications.

Of the 10% who say their plans will be affected by the changes, the majority (59%) are more likely to take some or all of their pension savings as soon as they can, 34% say they may take some of their pension savings as a lump sum to fund their retirement, and 14% will do so to pay off their mortgage.

However, half (49%) of all unretired over-55s say they do not see any advantage in taking their pension savings as a single lump sum, suggesting that many people will be cautious of spending too much, too soon.

Despite rising concern about people running out of money in retirement, more than half of retired and unretired over-55s (52%) say they think they will have enough money in retirement. But 17% think they won’t have enough money, and more than a quarter (27%) will only go as far as to say they may have enough.

Concern over running of out of money comes nowhere near the worries people hold over more fundamental ageing issues:

  • ill health (56%)
  • dementia (50%)
  • being dependent on other people (36%)
  • going into a care home (30%)
  • dying or people close to them passing away (25%)
  • running out of money in retirement because I have spent up (8%)
  • living longer than I expect and not having the money to fund my retirement (5%)

Aviva’s managing director retirement solutions, Clive Bolton, said:

“There is a huge amount of education work needed to ensure the over-55s are equipped to make the right decisions when the freedom and choice changes take effect in April next year,” said Mr Bolton.

“It’s great that awareness about the changes is high, but people really need to understand that these changes do more than just open up choice – they also change the rules and tax implications on how people use their savings. And with the latest announcement on pension tax changes, the picture for consumers is even more complex.

“It is not simply a choice between taking savings early or choosing a retirement product, there are implications that could leave retirees better or worse off at a time when they need to maximise their savings.

“From our own work with consumers in some recent retirement seminars, we know there is a real thirst for more information about these changes, and it’s really important that in the run up to April our industry and government work together to ensure there is clarity for consumers.”

For more information about the retirement changes, see Aviva’s retirement centre: http://www.aviva.co.uk/pensions-and-retirement/retirement-centre/

Download the Real Retirement Report - Autumn 2014 PDF (0.8MB)

- Ends -

If you are a journalist and would like further information, please contact:

Diane Mangan : Aviva Press Office : 01904 684164: 07800 691 714 : diane.mangan@aviva.co.uk

Notes to editors:

Aviva Real Retirement Report

The Aviva Real Retirement Report is produced by Aviva in consultation with ICM Research. The Real Retirement tracking survey referenced has been running since 2010 and totals 19,193 interviews amongst the population aged over 55 years. 1.202 people aged over 55-years were polled for this Q2 2014 wave of research.

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