Infinite Global launches new report on pensions’ perception problem

• 2 minute read

Infinite Global’s latest report analyses the UK’s pensions perceptions puzzle. Retirement impacts a sizeable portion of so many people’s lives, yet pensions are marginalised as a complex and niche subject.

Public trust and engagement around pensions are languishing, and apathy remains the overriding sentiment. To understand this perception problem, Infinite Global spoke to a number of leading industry players, as well as senior journalists from The Times and Financial Times, to see how the perception puzzle might be solved.

Alongside those interviews, Infinite Global undertook research, in conjunction with YouGov, to ascertain how much information the public seeks from the media when it comes to pensions. With 55% of Brits saying they do not seek information about pensions from any source, the results confirm that communications around pensions issues is not cutting through and must be made clearer and more loudly. At present, the message that we’re not saving enough for retirement is largely falling on deaf ears.

In the news, pensions apathy is reflected by a smaller media footprint for pensions and retirement issues when compared with other personal finance topics, particularly property. This is despite pensions accounting for a larger proportion of UK wealth than property (£6 trillion to £5 trillion). Property is seen as more glamorous, accessible and more tangible, while pensions are viewed as boring, complex and daunting.

“Spend now, think later” seems to be the prevailing public mindset, while short-term thinking dominates the savings landscape, leaving pensions as an after-thought at best.

The solution to the perceptions puzzle lies in activating various industry actors.

Auto-enrolment has provided an important foundation upon which policymakers and industry can build. Financial literacy must be promoted from an earlier age to improve interest and accessibility, while partnering pensions with purpose should promote the power of investment to do ‘good’ in the world.

In many ways pensions’ PR problem presents a familiar communications challenge. For any given message to resonate, clarity is key, and complexity should be shunned.

It may take longer to reverse decades-old spending and saving habits, but there are quick steps that can be taken in the interim. It starts with industry setting the tone in terms of how pensions are discussed, while communications between employers and employees must become more frequent, and more jargon-free. Individuals are unlikely to take a more proactive interest if they are met with complexity and confusion at every turn – industry and employers must meet them halfway.

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