Government to offer pre-retirement planning

Pensions%20imageThe government plans to offer free generic financial advice helping workers with pre-retirement planning and the decision on whether or not to opt out of personal accounts.

It is envisaged that the information will be provided via a national helpline and website and possibly a network of advice centres linked to independent†financial advisers. The service will not provide personal financial advice, but will give sufficient financial information to people so that they can make key decisions around issues such as pre-retirement planning and whether or not to opt out of personal accounts when they are eventually introduced in 2012.

A ministerial group, chaired by Ed Balls, the economic secretary to the Treasury, will develop and oversee the government’s work in delivering a range of programmes that focus on improving all adults’ financial capability.

A new taskforce will research and design the national generic financial advice service.

The taskforce will be headed-up by Otto Thoresen, chief executive of Aegon UK, who will report to ministers by the end of the year with an action plan that the government will publish setting out how financial capability will be integrated into existing services.

James Purnell, the pensions minister, said: “Millions of today’s workers are not saving enough for their retirement. That’s why we are making it much simpler for people to save through automatic enrolment into a new system of personal accounts, or into workplace pension schemes. Automatic enrolment will help people save. But it will still be their decision whether to opt out, and how to invest their money. Generic financial advice will be vital to help them make those decisions, and a wide range of stakeholders have urged us to ensure that is available.”

Part of the initiative will also promote financial education in schools via the Child Trust Fund, new curriculum guidance for schools on financial education and developing further plans for a Schools Money Week.