Royce Shook

2 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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10 tips to help you understand pensions

1. Get on board from the outset with your company pension

Your employer should provide you and all new workers with a ‘pension pack’ – in a printed or online format – that sets everything out in plain, jargon-free language and clearly directs how to get more information and support.

2. Read about it, then read it again

To keep you from switching from the benefits your workplace scheme offers, you need to be reminded of the facts on a regular basis. Review your pension benefits every six months or at least once a year. Go to seminars offered by your employer on your benefits. Read and watch video's about your benefits if they are offered by your employer. 

3. Make sure the timings are right

Time your own review so it is the best time for you.  For example, avoid August, when you're more likely to be concentrating on having fun than choosing funds. And for many, December is obviously the time when long-term thinking tends to take a festive break.

4. Host financial education seminars

Go to seminars on finance, by looking at your finances holistically, you may come to realize that you may need to take a more ‘hands-on’ approach to their retirement planning. It’s all too easy to think that auto-enrolment will take care of everything, rather than considering how much is actually needed to fund a good lifestyle after work. Pension providers and other professionals should be able to help you find informative seminars and events.

5. Adopt online pensions calculation tools

Users of pension calculators say that when you can see the impact of cutting back on your total pension pot, the penny really does drop. There are lots of easy-to-use online calculators that can help you get an idea how much you might have in their pension pot when you retire – and how saving a relatively small additional amount could make a big difference down the line.

6. Make your scheme stand out

Paying in above the minimum levels is one way to set your pension apart from others. Other factors, such as online account access (perhaps alongside other savings products under a corporate platform), can also set your pension above and apart from your peers.

7. Know about the downside of opting out

You might tell yourself that you are only opting out for a short time, while you address more pressing financial needs. But because of the effects of compounding, this tactic could be more costly than you think – especially if you are a younger employee who would be missing out on many years of potential growth for the contributions you may have decided to ‘save’ to spend on other shorter-term priorities.

8. Different age groups r

espond to different tactics

Not everyone reading this is at the same life stage, and nor do they all have the same priorities or attitude to risk:

Younger people are more likely to be receptive to financial education. However, retirement is a long way away, so it’s important to communicate the value of getting into the habit of saving in general. Remember that your pension is part of your reward package and that you make contributions as well as your employer– why turn down ‘free money’.

If you are between 30 to 50 you are likely to be juggling some very immediate demands on their finances – from mortgages to family commitments. Remember your pension is positioned as a part of general support to help you make the most of their money.

If you are over 50 you will be more aware of the need to plan for retirement and you are likely to be concerned about the effect of volatility on your pension at this later stage. Think about your choices at age 55+, and at the same time highlight the opportunity you still have to make changes to your investments or level of contributions. 

9. Appeal to your self-interest

Sometimes, telling yourself a few straight facts is the best way to get yourself engaged more fully with your pension. Remind yourself that:

Employers put money in on your behalf. If you aren’t in the pension you won’t get the extra money. It’s your money, not the employers. What goes in is yours, what comes out is yours.

Finally, remind yourself of what you will get if you only rely on the Canada Pension or state or Federal pension if you don't have your own pension.  Would you want to live on that?

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