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Bank Holiday Weekend

It is a Bank Holiday week; the week where you are off on the Monday and spend the rest of the week muddling up the days. And the Bank Holiday week effect where four days feels longer than five. I definitely feel discombobulated on Bank Holiday weeks.

Discombobulated is a fabulous word.

Definition = To be utterly and thoroughly confused with no hope of regaining any intelligent cognitive comprehension.

Sounds familiar? Outside the financial services bubble, most people feel discombobulated about their pension. In the pensions industry, our answer is to wag our finger and say we need to “educate people”. I do not think we need to educate people to become experts on retirement matters. Instead, we need to help people become a consumer of expertise. This makes an assumption that you can find an expert to help you.

Most people simply do not think about retirement until it happens or comes near. People think “it will just happen,” as a part of life that they don’t control. Often they seem to have developed half a story based on what happened to parents or friends and they assume they have to do the same thing – even when it is not what they want to do. In fact, for some, it comes unexpectedly, before they are even ready to think about it at all.  There may be a family member who suddenly needs care or they may be made redundant or they may fall ill resulting in their working career ending and approaching retirement unprepared – in fact, they feel discombobulated.

The idea of educating a discombobulated person is way off beam. I would also challenge the idea that they need a “holistic financial plan” – do not try to “boil the ocean”. They simply need to know the questions that they should be asking themselves about what they want – the subject that the customers are expert on! Then, apply that background and those thoughts to practical choices regarding the options that are available to them, the “pension diagnostic”.

The Pensions Advisory Service offers independent and impartial guidance. It is a great place to start. From us, the customer may go to the provider or, with the enormity of the decision, pay for regulated advice. The public service, providers and financial advisers are not competitors and we should be working harder to allow customers move between our complementary services.

Our goal is to turn people into empowered consumers of pension expertise. It is an audacious goal and we are keen to work with the industry to make it happen.

You can ask our specialists any questions you have about pensions, contact us on 0800 011 3797 for free.

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