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The role of employers in the gateway to retirement

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Published July 2012

We've been tracking the concerns of the over-55s for more than two years now, through our Real Retirement Report. In the latest issue, we look at the transition between employment and retirement. What role do employers play? What role do employees want them to play? What type of help is expected?

The gateway to retirement

People today have more choice about when to retire and more ways to fund their retirement. But with greater choice comes greater responsibility, which is perhaps why the transition from employment to retirement can be a confusing time. Faced with so many decisions, people are looking to their employers for support in the gateway to retirement.

We found that while almost two thirds (64%) of employers offer no tailored support to their employees who are retiring, over two-thirds (68%) of employees would appreciate some help. Financial workshops (35% - Q2 2012), retirement literature (35% - Q2 2012) and a list of recommended financial advisers (21% - Q2 2012) are the top requests.

Investment without support

Todays over 55s have typically been with their last employer 16 years. Over this period, it is likely that employers have, in addition to salary, provided substantial financial support and benefits to their employees. However, despite having invested heavily into their employees, many organisations do not feel it is their responsibility to help their staff make the most of their retirement.

Advice welcomed

The vast majority of those who did receive support welcomed it with 70% (Q2 2012) saying that they found it useful. However, while over-55s generally didn't receive support from their employers when approaching retirement, 68% (Q2 2012) firmly believe that this should happen.

Unaware of the Options

A review of the internet reveals that the majority of pension providers – especially those who offer workplace pensions – actively work to engage members in the schemes and ensure that they receive the right level of guidance. Indeed, Aviva provides an online Retirement Centre which encourages customers to make the most of their retirement savings, demystifies retirement products, as well as considering what other steps they may need to take. Therefore, the issue may not be lack of information but rather lack of guidance as how to access it.

"While in this tough economic environment, businesses need to ensure that they are not spending money needlessly, yet it seems older employees do want help with planning their retirement finances. Therefore, with 96% of businesses saying that staff are critical to the success of their business, employers need to consider how they can increase staff engagement and productivity by helping them to feel secure about their later life finances."

Please read our Real Retirement Report (PDF 2,700KB) for more information.

Clive Bolton, 'at-retirement' director for Aviva

WC04097 07/2012

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