Thursday 18 January 2018

Majority of people who don't have a pension do not know how to start one

Just 33pc of private sector workers have a pension other than the State PRSI

The majority of people who do not have a pension do not know how to start one (Stock photo)
The majority of people who do not have a pension do not know how to start one (Stock photo)

Charlie Weston Personal Finance Editor

Just over one third of private sector workers has a pension, with most unaware how to start one.

The findings of the survey press home the need for the Government to make good on its promise to introduce a new auto-enrolment scheme for private sector worekrs.

The survey of 1,000 people, commissioned by investment and pension firm Standard Life, found that half of all workers have a pension.

But when public sector workers are stripped out the number with a private retirement scheme falls to just 36pc.

And the majority of people who do not have a pension do not know how to start one.

The figures on the low-level of pension ownership in the private sector mirror Central Statistics Office data released last May, which showed that just 33pc of private sector workers have a pension other than the State PRSI (pay related social welfare) one.

The survey, carried out by iReach, also found that 77pc of people never discuss the topic of retirement planning.

Asked if on a night out with your friends, they werelikely are you to discuss pensions and how much you need to live on in retirement, most people said it was an unlikely topic to arise, or there was no chance of it being discussed.

Pensions spokesman for Standard Life Brendan Barr said the level of pension ownership was worryingly low.

“It can be partly explained by people not knowing how to start a pension and the fact that we don’t talk about pensions.

“We have to help people understand how to start one, just how generous the tax benefits are and the importance of taking personal responsibility for their financial wellbeing when they stop earning.”

Mr Barr said it was relatively simple to start a pension.

Those people who are PAYE (pay as you earn) employees are likely to be in a company that will have an existing occupational pension.

Alternatively, the employer has to offer you access to a pension scheme even if they don’t contribute to it. That’s the legal requirement and has been for the past 15 years.

“It appears a lot of employees are unaware of this,” he said.

Mr Barr said his top tip was to simply to ask their employer/HR person about the company’s pension.

The best bet for the self-employed is to speak to an independent financial adviser who can steer people on the most suitable plan.

Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar is the latest office holder to promise a new pensions shakeup, and favours auto-enrolment.

But he warned last year that this could take up to 10 years.

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