Michelle Cracknell: Making pensions attractive

Better education, less volatile investments and planning tools with personalised forecasts can all help employees make pensions a building block in their savings strategy.


I am passionate about pensions because they can change people’s lives. The idea of saving to have the money to do the things you want to do after work is very attractive.

Improve pensions’ accessibility

However, from our helpline at The Pensions Advisory Service, we are acutely aware that people find pensions very inaccessible. This is due to the language we use, not knowing how or where to access information, the complex rules and financial service in general. As a result, all too often people put it in the ‘too-hard’ box.

While there is no silver bullet that will get everybody saving towards their retirement, albeit that the Budget has started renewed interest in pensions savings for some, there are areas where we could help people feel more comfortable to make pension decisions.

Make pensions language attractive

There could be better use of language. Pensions is not an attractive word and even retirement has connotations that do not make it attractive, but the volumes of paper we churn out does not help or make pensions accessible to savers. Less is more.

To make pensions attractive, there should be some realism about what retirement looks like in order to manage expectations; longer life expectancy must require us to work for longer.

Use small actions to encourage saving

We should focus on the do-able and stop telling people they are not saving enough but focus on small actions that can help them save more.

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All of these may seem like small steps, but they could make a difference. Most people who contact us know they need to take responsibility for their retirement. Let’s make it easy for them.

Michelle Cracknell is chief executive of The Pensions Advisory Service