As the vaccine rollout steams ahead and lockdown measures are eased more, everyone is hoping that the world and people’s lives in general will get back to normal sooner rather than later.
However, the truth is things will probably never be the same again. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted a number of failings and complacency in the pre-pandemic world, with a lot of people believing that a ‘new normal’ will emerge.
In our day to day lives, this includes a flexible working practice, wearing face masks in public if you’re ill, and taking better care to protect the most vulnerable, but this can also apply to pensions.
With people now more focused than ever on their money in these financially challenging times, it may provide a real opportunity for the industry, regulators and government to help drive forward adequate pension savings amongst the population.
Recently, a financial advisor in Leeds published research that shows it had seen a “significant rise” in its clients transferring and consolidating all of their pension pots, with this evidence clearly stating that savers are now engaging more with their pensions, and finances in general, being seen all across the industry.
The increased focus on sustainability and ethics has also helped drive member engagement, with the Make My Money Matter campaign, co-founded by film director Richard Curtis, showing that pensions are becoming a more mainstream discussion.
Ethical and sustainable investing it something that the general public really cares about, and it is imperative that the industry capitalises on this to help people save for a comfortable retirement, while making the world a better place, as we move to the ‘new normal’.
Auto-enrolment has enabled more people than ever to save for retirement, and this less-active form of engagement is likely the way to proceed with the majority of the population.
But again, this must be capitalised on. The government and regulators can use the figurative blank slate the post-pandemic world provides to reform the system.
Calls for auto-enrolment reform are nothing new, but this opportunity of creating a ‘new normal’ for pensions should not be passed up, with changes to the minimum wage and age thresholds potentially helping address the gender pension gap as well as retirement poverty.
As we come out the other side of this awful period in our lives, hopefully we can create a better world for everyone to live in, including in retirement.