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It’s national "something" day

It’s never just a Monday, a mere Tuesday or plain old Wednesday and so forth; it’s bound to be a national ‘something’ day too. There’s an endless variety of such noteworthy days, ranging from the simply bizarre to others with a more serious message. September was no different, you could have chomped through Pecan Cookie Day, played around on Miniature Golf Day or raised an eyebrow on Lash Stylists Day.

Some days focused more soberly on helping others (World Alzheimer’s Day), thinking of others (International Day of Peace) and moving forward (Business Women’s Day).

Another of these more valuable days was the particularly engrossing Pensions Awareness Day, which came and went on 15th September amidst a resurgence of reported Covid-19 cases, along with confirmation that the minimum pension age will be shifted from 55 to 57 from 2028. Groans were detected in many quarters.

To draw attention to the importance of consumers putting money away for their retirement, there are always some riveting findings published – and this year was no exception. It was reported that nearly three in four adults have little or no knowledge about pensions, rising to 83% for women compared to 61% for men, according to Royal London’s latest research.

You can view this as shocking, horrific – or unsurprising.

The introduction of pension freedoms back in 2015 gave pensions a new shop window for the public and helped to bring the topic into pub conversations, for a while at least. Even with all the grief the country is facing at the moment, and the resulting financial challenges about the future, we really do need to find ways of socialising the pension conversation once again, and getting it back down the pub alongside the pie and pint (or nibbles and prosecco for some).

The recent call for input to the FCA’s report on the ‘Consumer Investment market’ suggests that “just-in-time” education will hopefully provide a more fruitful way forward, acknowledging that attempts to improve financial literacy over the years have had little impact in changing behaviours. For me, it is definitely too early to assert that the new wake-up packs and age-related MOTs for the over 50s have been giving this cohort the right nudge. Not least because such nudges will not give these future retirees much time to take significant action to change their futures.

The new financial crisis we are facing, with thousands losing their jobs, can’t distract us from continuing to remind consumers about the importance of putting away regular amounts of moolah for their future. Nudging their understanding about the impact of not doing so is imperative.

I was reminded recently about the Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association’s website promoting Retirement Living Standards, launched last year to help consumers grasp the associated costs of retiring and their likely income requirements. It’s easy to create an attention-grabbing headline from this data – for example, by reminding couples wishing to enjoy a ‘moderate’ retirement that they will need a net income of – drum roll – £29,100 per year.

You will of course be eager to understand what ‘minimum’, ‘moderate’ and ‘comfortable’ retirements actually mean. All this can be gleaned from the website at www.retirementlivingstandards.org.uk and such info can be used by you and your clients to help them re-energise their focus on saving for the future.

And so, if you were to build “just-in-time” nudges for your clients, what are the steps you need to take to deliver short and to-the-point messages?

  • You might consider implementing further segmentation across your client bank, to ensure messages are presented to the right ones. Looking back at this year, there have been many opportunities to provide positive messaging to support clients, none more so than when stock markets were doing their best to spook investors. And with few signs that the health of the nation is going to improve soon, the opportunity to nudge will continue for some time yet.
  • How to deliver the nudge is another consideration. There are plenty of business solutions to streamline this process, to ensure you keep on top of the admin once you have collected the necessary GDPR permissions – if you don’t hold them already of course.
  • After this, all that are left are the nudges themselves, but these shouldn’t be too onerous. A simple nudge to the Retirement Living Standards website may just get people talking pensions over a pint once again.

All this effort will greatly help to keep people’s finances in a fit state… and as luck would have it, we celebrated National Fitness Day on 23rd September.

For more articles, please visit our insights page


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