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First Man

The new film, First Man, is the biopic of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. This blog will not be a “plot spoiler” as you know what happens.
Even though you know the ending, the film is fascinating as it adds more dimensions to the epic event. The film touches on the Armstrong family’s loss of their daughter to cancer as well as close friends and fellow astronauts that died in the run-up to the final successful mission. It also reminds us of the huge rivalry between the USA and USSR at the time.
There are parallels with pensions.

  • Pensions are long-term savings products. By the time you reach retirement, you will have old legacy products where the rules are not well known. Examples include AVCs and Section 32s. I am not a historian so the USA and USSR feud had dimmed in my mind until I watched the film. People should, therefore, seek all the help they can get when they are looking to take benefits from old pension schemes. Luckily, I employ pension historians who will be familiar with the legacy products.
  • The presenting question that we get asked by our customers is often not the issue. A typical TPAS customer approaches the service with a specific question, often about one of their pensions such as “I have received a retirement pack from my pension scheme. How do I draw my pension?” Answering the presenting question would often miss the point on what the customer needs. It is therefore common that customers are asked a question in response to their question; “Are you retiring? Do you need the money?” As retirement changes with more people working longer and/or flexibly, it is important that the guidance always focuses on the customer and what is happening in their life rather than the pension product. In the film, Neil Armstrong answers the questions that he is bombarded with by the journalists, many of whom are completely oblivious to what is actually going on in his mind.

Plagiarising and altering the famous words of Armstrong; when it comes to getting help with your pension; “One small step to call TPAS, one giant leap for your retirement.”

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