Craig Berry: How do you get staff to understand how much to save for retirement?

There is no doubt that people in defined contribution (DC) pension schemes need to save more if they want to enjoy a decent standard of living in retirement. The level and consistency of contributions will always be the most important determinant of outcomes from DC pensions saving.

But moralising about under-saving by individuals at a time of wage stagnation and with an economic policy agenda dependent on higher consumer spending, is not an effective way to prompt higher pension contributions.

It is absolutely right that the pensions system is now based on inertia rather than engagement. Auto-enrolment is already improving the understanding of pensions, but we cannot expect individuals to fully appreciate how contribution rates today translate into a retirement income decades in the future.

We urgently need to bring more people into inertia-based saving. Linking the auto-enrolment earnings trigger to the personal allowance excludes four million low-earners from workplace pensions, mainly women.

Employer contributions will be crucial to higher overall contributions into DC pots. It is right that the statutory minimum rates were introduced at a low level, but an employer contribution of 3% on a band of earnings is inadequate and must rise over time. A fairer system of tax relief will also be needed to incentivise pension saving among low-earners.

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It is regrettable that DC pensions have individualised the investment risk from pensions saving, but this is the system we have and we must start from where we are.

Craig Berry is pensions officer at the Trades Union Congress