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Communicating on Retirement

28 October 2010

The Department of Work and Pensions has published two reports which have been commissioned to understand communicating with people regarding their retirement.

The first report, which discusses communicating with people approaching retirement and the information required, was undertaken between December 2008 and March 2010.

The key findings of this piece of research were:

  • Communication messages about State Pension and retirement need to be factual and specific to the individual but at the same time sensitive to the apprehension customers feel as they approach this major life event.
  • To enable customers to plan their long term finances effectively they need to be fully informed about their total entitlements to pensions and benefits and how they interact with each other.
  • Communications should gradually increase in frequency as the customer reaches their official State Retirement Age. The steps that customers need to take and when should be clearly set out.

Click here to view a copy of the report

The second report, which discusses the attitudes and perceptions of people over retirement age, was conducted over two phases and included both qualitative and quantitative methods.

The key findings include:

  • Age shapes customers' experiences and attitudes - findings show that the age of customers affected their outlook on society, finance and health. The oldest group of customers showed significant differences in attitude and behaviour to those in younger age groups.
  • Attitudes and perceptions are also correlated to affluence and health - most participants who are less affluent were mostly employed throughout their working lives but were still reliant on state benefits to provide an income in retirement. Those from less affluent households were more likely to report having a long-term illness and make regular visits to the doctor.
  • Family plays a crucial role in the lives of most of the over 60s - including an important social role in acting as advisors on health and financial decisions. Family members are the most likely source of home help amongst those with health difficulties, as well as influencing access to information and understanding government services.
  • Income and access to services were found to differ by gender - older women may be more likely to be socially isolated than men which suggests the tenor of communications to women, and the services that are offered, may need to be structured differently.
  • Take-up and use of new technology is stronger in younger participants - although there are opportunities available for conveying messages via modern forms of technology, the more tried and tested sources remain the most widely used and the most trusted.

Click here to view a copy of the report.

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