Pensions in the spotlight as key Google searches increase in popularity
UK Google searches for the term ‘pensions freedoms’ (and three other variants with and without plurals) increased by 913% during 2015, research finds.
The employee benefits consultancy Jelf Employee Benefits believes that pensions freedoms have struck a chord with the UK public and certainly helped raise awareness of pensions as a whole.
While the UK’s engagement with pensions seems to be on the rise, and tempting as it is for individuals to seek advice from a well-respected relative; mate in the pub; or even via search engines, Jelf Employee Benefits believes there is a real opportunity for employers to step up.
Pensions freedom has engaged the intended audience of those about to retire, but also a secondary audience who are cashing in pensions because they can, with no intention of retiring, says the organisation.
Jelf says that what we don’t know about this second cohort is what impact that action might have in the future on their ability to retire.
Employers need to take a responsible approach to their employees’ financial education and longer-term retirement planning, to protect both the employees and the employer themselves.
Lee Coles, head of retirement services atJelf Employee Benefits said: “Pensions freedoms was a real hot topic during our employer-sponsored financial education courses last year too.
“We couldn’t be more pleased that the topic has caught the public’s imagination but of course, rather than simplifying retirement decisions, there are some complexities and longer-term consequences that need to be understood.”
Lee adds that if there is no help put in place for people to make better choices, employees may need to work longer than either they or their employers would ideally want; a ‘problem for all concerned’.
“Better workplace education can satisfy the paternalistic ambitions of employers, but can also be commercially beneficial. We could be talking about lower absence rates, a clearer succession plan for key roles or better business continuity.
“The increased awareness regarding pensions is a positive step, but the goal has to be better financial decision-making across workforces,” Coles adds.
“We predicted last year that as increasing numbers of people become better educated about their retirement savings via communications about auto-enrolment and pensions freedoms, that the types of searches they undertake would become ever-more sophisticated.
“However in the short term, it seems that as more people are aware, yet currently less well-informed, the searches were in fact less sophisticated than during 2014.”