Friday 21 September 2018

Two-thirds of private sector workers without a pension

Only a third of private-sector workers have a pension, with most not knowing how to start one, a survey has found. (stock photo)
Only a third of private-sector workers have a pension, with most not knowing how to start one, a survey has found. (stock photo)
Charlie Weston

Charlie Weston

Only a third of private-sector workers have a pension, with most not knowing how to start one, a survey has found.

The findings press home the need for the Government to make good on its promise to introduce an auto- enrolment scheme for private sector workers.

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.

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.

This 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.

When asked that whether they were on a night out with friends how likely were they to discuss pensions and how much they would need for retirement, most people said it was an unlikely topic 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," he said.

"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 well-being."

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 pension.

Alternatively, the employer has to offer you access to a pension scheme even if they don't contribute to it.

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

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

Irish Independent

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