12% regret not being more engaged with their pension savings

Steven Cameron

More than one in 10 (12%) of respondents regret not being more engaged with their pension savings, wishing they had either joined their workplace pension scheme or moved out of their pension scheme’s default fund, according to research by Aegon.

Its survey of 824 adults also found that 14% of retired respondents regretted how they had used their pension pot. This included taking tax-free cash when they did not need it, taking too much income too soon from their drawdown policy, buying an annuity or failing to buy an inflation-linked annuity.

The research also found:

  • 42% of respondents still at work believe that joining their workplace pension or saving into a personal pension was the best pension decision they’ve made, compared to 19% who feel their best pensions decision was to save for retirement from an early age and 18% think paying extra into their workplace pension was their best pension choice.
  • 51% of respondents who are still working cite their biggest saving regret as not starting pension savings early enough or taking a break from saving, compared to 14% who state their biggest saving regret as not making a financial plan.
  • 17% of female respondents regret not being engaged with joining a pension scheme or moving out of their pension scheme’s default fund.
  • 11% of male respondents wish they had paid more attention to costs, fees and charges associated with their pension scheme.
  • 38% of respondents who have already retired regret putting off a saving decision, compared to 18% who regret poor financial planning.

Steven Cameron (pictured), pensions director at Aegon said: “With the state pension unlikely to provide an adequate income for most, saving into [a] workplace or personal pension is not something [employees] can afford to delay. For many, it’s the most important saving pot we’ll ever have, so [employees] want to give [themselves] the best chance of building it up over as a long a period as possible. By starting to save for retirement as early as possible, [employees] have a better chance to avoid future regrets.

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“It’s all too easy to put things off [until] tomorrow, and for those many years away from retirement, delaying paying into a pension, or putting off plans ‘[until] next year’ may look tempting. But our research shows that many people live to regret procrastinating.

“There’s a saying; smart people learn from their mistakes, wise people learn from the mistakes of others. When it comes to saving for retirement, it’s easy to fall into bad habits or make decisions [employees will] later regret. But taking personal responsibility and making better financial decisions now will make all the difference to [an employee’s] future.”