Category Archives: Retirement

Retirement

Prudential reveals more than 2 million couples have never discussed finances together

Prudential reports that many British couples are burying their hands in the sand over their financial situations. One in seven* (14 per cent) couples over the age of 40 – or around 4.2** million people – admit they have never discussed their finances.

Fears about having awkward conversations drives this behaviour, with 15 per cent of those surveyed admitting they feel uncomfortable talking to their partners about financial planning.

A concern that these conversations will boil over into arguments is another reason that couples avoid talking about their finances – money is the third most likely subject to cause arguments among couples, with nearly one in four (23 per cent) claiming that they fight over finances, ahead of work (10 per cent), and politics and religion (5 per cent). Only household chores (27 per cent) and disputes about family (30 per cent) are more likely to cause disagreements.

Even for the majority of couples who do discuss their retirement plans, long-term issues are likely to be side-lined, as short-term everyday expenses take priority. Daily living costs and household bills are regularly discussed by the majority of couples (60 per cent and 52 per cent respectively), and one in three couples (34 per cent) speak about the costs of home improvements, large purchases and luxuries.

However, discussions about long-term planning are far less prevalent, with only 16 per cent of couples claiming to regularly talk about retirement income and pension planning. Only 3 per cent of couples claim they have had conversations about inheritance planning and tax.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential said: “Money can be a tough topic to discuss at the best of times. Many couples prefer to steer clear of conversations about finances, and especially discussions about longer-term issues like retirement which might feel light-years away. Yet it really pays to be honest about your financial situation. Being open about discussing long-term financial planning as early as possible will help couples to ensure they can enjoy a comfortable retirement together.”

Only 13 per cent of respondents said they had seen a financial adviser with their partners in the past five years. A further 13 per cent say they or their partner has seen an adviser separately within this timeframe and 8 per cent have seen an adviser but not within the past five years. The vast majority (66 per cent) have never seen a financial adviser to discuss retirement or pension planning.

Vince Smith-Hughes continued: “Websites like www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.uk andwww.moneyadviceservice.org.uk can help with some in-depth information about retirement options. A joint conversation with a financial adviser should help couples to make the right pension savings decisions during their working lives, so that they’ll have the right income to support their lifestyles in retirement.”

Via EPR Network
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Confused.com Reveals That 1 in 3 ‘Worth More Dead Than Alive’

1 in 3 people in the UK (34%) say they are ‘worth more dead than alive’ according to new research by Confused.com, but 40% of people in the new study say that they have dependents who could not pay the bills if they died, and nearly 60% do not have life insurance.

A new, short zombie film made by Confused.com hammers home the message that once people are gone, it’s too late to think about life insurance, which is sad for the poor zombie who is patiently waiting at home for a financial adviser.

However, nearly 60% of the UK (59%) told Confused.com that they do not have a life insurance policy, despite the fact that 64% do have a mortgage which they have not yet paid off.

Insurers in the UK pay out £37 million every day to help dependents cope with the death of loved ones, according to the Association of British Insurers (ABI) but despite this, more than 1 in 10 people surveyed (11%) admitted that their loved ones would be without a home if they died. This strongly suggests that many may not protect their families through life insurance or savings.

30% of couples have a joint mortgage, while 57% have a joint bank account. This could mean they’d have to take on joint debt on their own if their partner died without life insurance.

Matt Lloyd, Head of Life Insurance at Confused.com explained: “A debt such as a mortgage should ideally be backed up with life insurance so that it can be paid off in part or in full if one of the mortgage holders should die. The loss of a loved one is a stressful time without having to worry about not being able to afford the mortgage bills.”

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reveals Almost Half Of UK Business Owners Have No Pension Savings

Almost half (46 per cent) of UK business owners* – or 1.3 million** people – have no private pension savings to support them in retirement, according to new independent research from Prudential***.

Of those who have failed to make any private pension provision, more than half (54 per cent) said this was because they simply could not afford to set money aside. Nearly one in five (18 per cent) say they don’t have a pension because they will never retire, and 9 per cent claim they have sufficient funds in a company pension from previous employment.

Nearly one third (29 per cent) of business owners, or 792,000 people, say they will be entirely reliant on the State Pension when they come to retire, compared with just 16 per cent of people across all employment types retiring this year in the UK****.

Other self-employed workers will supplement their retirement incomes with money from a mix of alternative sources: 48 per cent will draw on other savings and investments, 25 per cent will use equity from their properties, 25 per cent plan to use their partners’ pensions, and 19 per cent
plan to use funds from the eventual sale of their businesses.

Prudential asked those business owners who don’t have a personal pension whether they plan to start one in the future and the majority of respondents (63 per cent) said no. Only 13 per cent said they were planning to start a pension and just under a quarter (24 per cent) were undecided.

Stan Russell, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “It’s sometimes hard for self-employed workers to distinguish between their business and personal finances. Often, investing in the business takes priority over saving for retirement – an issue that is particularly prevalent now, given the tough economic conditions facing UK businesses.

“Unfortunately, the long-term implications of not saving for retirement are that many retirees will have a real income shock and reduced living standards when they finally retire. And while a number of business owners say they don’t need a pension because they’ll never stop working, this optimistic approach won’t always be realistic – for example because of health issues later in life.

“Although some business owners plan to supplement their retirement incomes with alternative sources of finances, a large proportion will be entirely reliant upon the State Pension – which should actually be a safety net, not a default source of income.”

Saving into a pension has become a lower priority for those business owners who do have some dedicated retirement savings. The survey found that more than a quarter (27 per cent) of entrepreneurs with pension savings had put their personal contributions on hold since the start of the economic downturn.

Via EPR Network
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As More Workers Are Hospitalised For Stress, ActiveQuote.com Suggests Investing In Income Protection Insurance

With rising numbers of people being admitted to hospital due to severe stress, experts are urging UK workers to invest in income protection insurance to protect themselves against the health implications of the economic crisis.

New figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HCIS) show that nearly 6,400 people were hospitalised with stress in the 12 months to May 2012.

Not only is this a seven per cent rise on figures from the previous year, but it represents a staggering 47 per cent increase since 2007-8 when the economic crisis first hit.

As the HCIS figures do not take into account people who visited their GPs, Accident and Emergency or sought alternative practitioners’ advice, experts believe the actual figure could be much higher.

Dr Richard Theo, of income protection insurance comparison website ActiveQuote, said: “Stress is the single biggest cause of sickness in the UK, affecting one in five of the working population and causing the loss of 105 million working days each year.”

“But stress is not just a condition in itself; it is also a trigger for a range of other health conditions, from mental illness, depression and anxiety to high blood pressure and heart attacks.”

According to the statistics, those of working age are most likely to be hospitalised for stress. Depending on the severity of their condition, sufferers may be unable to return to their job for a prolonged period of time.

With government illness and disability benefit only paying out a maximum of £99.15 per week to eligible claimants, the financial implications of being out of work for a long period of time can be serious.

Dr Theo recommends UK workers consider investing in income protection. He explains: “An income protection policy is designed to replace your income if you cannot work due to a long-term illness such as severe stress.

“Rather than relying on your savings or government benefits, an income protection policy will pay you up to 70% of your income every month, with some plans even paying out up until retirement. This type of policy could provide much needed peace of mind during a recession.”

But Dr Theo warns that income protection insurance is unlikely to cover pre-existing conditions. He said: “People who are looking to protect their income against accident and sickness should compare income protection quotes as a pre-emptive step to safeguard their finances in the future.”

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reveals Fears Over New Generation Of Lost Pensions

One in six (16 per cent) workers have lost track of their pension funds after changing jobs, according to research from Prudential, raising new fears over a generation of lost pensions.

To compound matters, the survey of employees found that three in four (76 per cent) people have no idea of the value of the company pension pots they have built up over their careers. Just 24 per cent are confident that they know the value of their combined pension funds.

More than four in five (81 per cent) workers failed to actively transfer their previous company pension funds across to their new employers, while another 15 per cent relied on their new employers to make the switch.

Keeping track of pension funds is a significant risk for younger workers, in particular, as they change jobs more frequently than older employees. According to Prudential’s survey, workers aged between 18 and 34 have had, on average, three full-time jobs, compared with those aged 55 and over who have had just five jobs in their careers.

Stan Russell, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “Saving into a pension today is an important step in the right direction for workers, to help ensure a comfortable retirement.

“It is essential for people to understand what type and level of savings they have built up in the past. They must make sure that their previous employers have their most up-to-date personal details and are sending them annual pension statements, so they can keep themselves properly informed.

“Keeping track of pension savings at every age is important but it is even more crucial for younger workers, who are likely to switch jobs more often, to actively manage this process. It’s also important to consider the benefits of transferring previous pension savings into a new employer’s scheme, although seeking advice before making such a big decision is a must. For those who have lost track of their previous company pension pots, the Pensions Tracing Service should be able to help.”

Prudential’s research also found that workers who do know the value of their combined pension pots say they have built up an overall fund worth £110,207, on average, over their working lives. However, there is a significant gender gap here as men believe they have built up pension savings totalling £154,094, whereas women estimate they have saved only £50,512.

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reveals Two In Five Would Conduct Online Fact-Find To Save Money Post-RDR

Prudential research shows that one in four (25 per cent) people would be interested in an online or telephone financial advice service if it reduced costs.

The research also shows that one in five are more willing to pay for financial advice now than they were before the global financial crisis.

Two out of five (39 per cent) people would be willing to complete online fact-finds before meeting with an adviser if that would reduce the cost of advice, according to independent research from Prudential.*

The nationwide research was conducted to gauge people’s attitudes to potential new business models for financial advice, ahead of the introduction of the Financial Services Authority’s Retail Distribution Review (RDR) from 1 January 2013.

The research shows growing support for alternatives to traditional face-to-face meetings, with 25 per cent saying they would be willing to receive advice online or over the phone if that meant lower charges. Around 11 per cent would be interested in receiving advice either on the phone or online, while 10 per cent would want an online-only service and 4 per cent phone-only.

Support for remote meetings with an adviser is stronger among the younger generation, with 39 per cent of 18 to 34-year-olds saying they would be happy to receive financial advice on the phone or online or through a combination of phone and online, compared to 23 per cent of 35 to 54-year-olds. The support reduces to just 15 per cent among those aged 55 plus.

Russell Warwick, Prudential’s distribution change director, said: “Giving advice over the phone or online is a logical progression for advisers, and reflects the need to meet changing customer demand. We don’t believe that an ‘all or nothing’ approach is set to emerge but we do expect firms to start integrating non face-to-face aspects of client servicing into their models over time, as clients become more comfortable about receiving advice remotely.

“Providing these services can be run in a way that is cheaper than the face-to-face approach, it should free up advisers’ time, making their businesses more efficient and enabling them to focus on securing new clients. Conducting annual reviews by phone, for example, would cut travel time which, when added up for all clients, could amount to hundreds of hours over the course of a year.”

The Prudential research shows that 47 per cent of people would expect the costs for an online or phone advice service to be at least half as much as a traditional face-to-face service.

The research also shows that nearly one-fifth (18 per cent) of people are more willing to pay for financial advice now than they were before the global financial crisis. This is a result of people being more concerned about their future finances and how current market volatility will impact their investments and financial future, as well as trusting their own judgement less when making financial decisions.

Via EPR Network
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Standard Life Adds Eight Vanguard Funds To Its International Bond

Dublin-based Standard Life International has added eight Vanguard funds to its International Bond.

Standard Life is looking to meet the growing demands from advisers for a passive investment option by introducing the Vanguard funds to its International Bond.

Ian Searle, business development manager at Standard Life International, said: “These funds, which include both bond and equity funds, represents our passive investment option on our offshore bond and further strengthens the investment range for our customers to choose from to help them achieve their investment goals.

“We have seen many examples where advisers adopt a core approach to portfolio construction, with the core made of passive management so the introduction of the range of Vanguard funds supports advisers in that approach.

“We have established a strong working partnership with Vanguard over the last year. And we look forward to working with them to help advisers and their customers with their investment requirements.”

Simon Vanstone, Head of Institutional, Europe at Vanguard, said: “As demand for index tracking funds at low cost continues to grow in the UK, we are delighted that Vanguard has been selected by Standard Life International to provide the Index Tracking solutions within their International Bond.”

This announcement follows the addition of Vanguard’s pension funds to Standard Life’s platforms in December 2011 and the appointment of Vanguard in April 2012 to manage Standard Life’s tracker funds.

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Standard Life readies Retail International Bond for RDR

Standard Life today announces changes to its Retail International Bond in the run up to RDR implementation.

Standard Life will facilitate a comprehensive range of adviser charging options on the Retail International Bond from inside or outside the product, so advisers can select the charging method that best fits with their clients’ circumstances and their chosen business model.

Ian Searle, Standard Life International Business Development Manager, said: “The type, timing and source of funding adviser charges all have a potential impact on tax efficiencyand investment performance. Minimising the impact of adviser charges on a client’s portfolio will, therefore, be a key part of the advice process. We’ve developed a flexible range of adviser charging options, including the ability to take an initial charge from outside the Retail International Bond. If a client decides to pay for advice from within the bond, they should remember that these charges will count towards their 5% annual tax deferred allowance.”

From 10 December 2012 Standard Life will start facilitating adviser charging on Retail International Bond without an adviser having to provide additional signatures from existing clients.

The company has also added new functionality to Adviserzone to make it quick and easy to manage adviser charging online on all of Standard Life’s post-RDR products.

At the same time, Standard Life is introducing an explicit, simple stepped product charge on Retail International Bond for all non-insured fund assets – from 0.2% to 0.7%, depending on the size of investment. This stepped charge rewards clients with larger investments.

Standard Life will pass the full value of any mutual fund manager rebates directly to customers, and pass on any enhanced rebates it has been able to negotiate using it’s buying power. Quotations will clearly show the fund’s AMC, the amount of any fund manager rebate, stepped product charge and adviser charge.

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reports Higher Rate Taxpayers Reject £438 Million In Tax Relief

One in four higher rate taxpayers do not contribute to pension schemes despite the attraction of tax relief to help boost their retirement savings, according to independent research from Prudential*. Nationally, this equates to around 216,000 employees missing out on up to £438 million a year in pension tax relief.

The nationwide study of those earning between £42,275 and £149,999 found 21 per cent claiming they cannot afford to contribute to a pension scheme. One in eight (13 per cent) say they do not see the point of saving for retirement, despite the tax benefits ofpensions, while 17 per cent don’t know why they fail to save into a pension scheme.

An average higher rate taxpayer contributing £425 a month into a pension fund receives basic rate tax relief of £85 a month or £1,020 a year, directly into their pension fund. Up to an additional £1,020 a year in higher rate tax relief can be claimed, which could also be used for pension saving.

Figures from HMRC show that around 58 per cent of the estimated 900,000 higher rate taxpayers in the UK contribute to defined contribution pension schemes, while another 15 per cent are members of either non-contributory or defined benefit schemes.

But despite earning average salaries of £58,541, the rest do not save into pension schemes at all. Around 43 per cent of those who don’t save into a pension scheme claim to have made alternative retirement arrangements, 4 per cent have existing Self-InvestedPersonal Pension schemes and another 2 per cent claim they will not retire.

Matthew Stephens, Prudential’s tax expert, said: “Pension saving offers valuable tax reliefs to all workers and particularly to higher rate taxpayers. Basic rate 20 per cent tax relief is available at source plus up to an extra 20 per cent from HMRC for higher rate taxpayers. Turning down what is effectively free money simply does not make sense.

“It is worrying that so many higher rate taxpayers say they cannot afford to save into a pension despite earning healthy salaries. The good news is that it is never too late to take action on saving for retirement and we urge all workers to seek advice on long-termretirement planning.”

The Prudential research shows that recent changes limiting annual tax-free pension contributions to £50,000 a year have not significantly dented pension saving among higher earners. Just 8 per cent said the change had put them off pension saving while 25 per cent were unaware of the change.

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Prudential Reports Average Brit To Make A Million By The Age Of 56

New research* from Prudential has revealed that the average UK worker will have earned £1 million by the time they are 56 years, nine months and three weeks old.

However, despite these cumulative earnings, fewer than two in five (37 per cent) of those expecting to retire this year have saved enough to secure a comfortable retirement.

Prudential’s analysis of average incomes shows that becoming a millionaire before tax is well within most men’s grasp, as long as they start work at 18 and then earn the average income for their age bracket through to age 65.

A man on an average income can expect to be an income millionaire when he is 50 years, six months and two weeks old. However, women will find it harder than men to make the magic million, reaching the milestone at 72 years, four months and three weeks – 22 years after their male counterparts.

Of course, this £1 million will be earned before tax which means that the average worker will have also paid £137,101 in income tax and £84,129 in national insurance.

The good news is that if someone contributes to a personal pension throughout their working life, they can benefit from significant tax relief. An individual who pays £100 per month personally into a pension over a 40 year working lifetime could receive additional tax relief of at least £12,000.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “We might think that making a million is a pipedream, but it will become a reality for those who earn an average salary throughout their working lives, especially if they are men.

“Looking at cumulative earnings in this light helps us to understand how much we could potentially save for our retirement. Of course, ongoing financial pressures and priorities means that it is not always that easy, but it remains the case that the earlier you save and the more you save, the better retirement income you will have.

“Pensions remain highly efficient tax saving vehicles which can help savers to claw-back some of the tax that they have paid over the years.”

The analysis shows that if the average person works until the age of 65, their career earnings before tax will be £1,217,604. If they keep going to 70, then earnings will hit £1,322,009.

Prudential’s figures show that average earnings for UK workers peak at £31,328, in their forties. Average earnings for men hit a high of £40,652, while for women the peak is £21,758.

Via EPR Network
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Standard Life Launches Auto-Enrolment Toolkit

Standard Life has launched a toolkit aimed at helping employers and advisers plan for the introduction of auto-enrolment and identify the potential cost impact.

Ann Flynn, Head of Corporate Marketing, Standard Life said: “From our research and discussions with employers it is clear that many are scratching their heads as to how to tackle the implementation of auto-enrolment. They’re not entirely sure of the steps they need to take to meet their responsibilities, how much work is involved and importantly, how it will impact their bottom line.

“We have therefore developed a dedicated corporate benefits website which hosts a range of tools, news and videos to support employers and advisers through auto-enrolment and beyond.”

The toolkit includes; Pension Reform Pathfinder tool: An in depth planning tool which will help employers and advisers build up a personalised plan of duties and help establish a scheme to fit their requirements, and comply with auto-enrolment regulation.

Pension Reform Cost calculator: The pension reform cost calculator will help employers and advisers understand the potential cost of auto-enrolment by:
– Checking if a current scheme meets the requirements to satisfy the legislation
– Identifying the estimated ongoing costs of meeting legislation requirements
– Showing how the costs can be implemented gradually over time
– Demonstrating how costs could be reduced by providing the option for employees to pay through salary exchange.

Employer checklist: Gives employers an overview of the key tasks they must carry out in order to fulfil their new duties.

Data exchange guides: The guides will help employers navigate their way through their new duties and understand the impact on their current processes and systems.

Member communications timeline: The timeline gives a clear view of the mandatory member communications that pension reform legislation requires. It shows:
– The timeline – what communications need to be issued and when
– The regulations – which communications are mandatory and which are ‘recommended’
– The ownership – which communications must be sent by the employer
– The member categories – what type of information needs to be communicated to each category of employees.

Pension Reform information for employees: A dedicated pension reform website page, aimed at educating employees, has also been created on www.standardlife.co.uk to inform employees about the changes. The site covers everything they need to know, from why pension reform is happening to what to do if they don’t want to join their company pension scheme. There is also a short video which summarises pension reform and auto-enrolment.

Flynn added: “The cost and infrastructure impact will be a major concern for most businesses so these tools will help form the basis of discussions between advisers, HR teams and Finance Directors.

“With so many employers’ staging dates falling in 2013 and 2014, it is crucial that providers support employers and their advisers to help make the transition as painless as possible. Our message to all employers is the sooner you start your planning the better.”

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reveals Women Set To Retire On £5750 Less Than Men

New research from Prudential has revealed that women retiring in 2012 expect their annual retirement income to be a third lower than that of their male counterparts, adding up to a gender gap of £5,750.

Prudential’s Class of 2012 study into the finances and expectations of those planning to retire this year finds that the average woman expects an annual income of £12,250 from their retirement pension, compared with an average expected income of £18,000 for men.

The study shows that the gender gap has fallen from last year’s £6,500, and has narrowed steadily since Prudential first measured a gap of £6,642 in 2009. The fall this year can be mainly attributed to a reduction in men’s expected incomes. However, the gap remains significant.

Prudential’s study found that the average amount that men and women expect to retire on in 2012 fell to a five-year low of £15,500 including private, company and State pension, compared with £16,600 in 2011.

Stan Russell, Prudential’s retirement income expert, said: “The Pension Gender Gap appears to be narrowing, but there is still a long way to go. Not only does the gap remain stubbornly wide, but anticipated retirement incomes have this year hit a five year low for both men and women.

“The practical steps that women can take to improve their retirement income prospects include maintaining pension contributions during career breaks and, if possible, making voluntary National Insurance contributions after returning to work.

“It is imperative for anyone looking to secure a sufficient income when they retire to begin saving as much as they can, as early as they can, and to do so regularly through life. For those who are still working, it has never been a more important time to save into a pension.”

The Prudential study also found that nearly half (49 per cent) of women believe they will not have enough income for a comfortable retirement, compared with 40 per cent of men.

The retirement gender gap is widest in the South East, where women retiring this year expect to have £7,878 less income a year on average than men – £12,259 compared with £20,137.

The gender gap is narrowest in the North West, with women in the region retiring on an average of £13,087 a year, compared with £15,632 for men – a difference of £2,545.

Via EPR Network
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Standard Life Reveals Most Parents Feel Financially Supporting Their Grown Up Children Is ‘Their Duty’

According to Standard Life research, over half of parents feel it is “their duty as a parent” to financially support their grown up children.

A third of parents worry that without financial help their children would suffer and not achieve their full potential. 37% of parents recognise the impact that the current economy is having on their children’s financial status while a third of parents expect to have to financially support not just their children but also any grandchildren.

Parents are expected to help pay for a variety of amenities; 38% expect to help foot the wedding bill, the most significant cost, with university fees second. More than one in three parents pay university fees or expect to do so, whilst a third of parents are paying towards university accommodation. 34% pay towards their child’s car or expect to do so and a quarter will be likely to pay towards a deposit for a first home. Even a quarter are expected to help with mortgage and credit card debts.

Julie Russell, Head of Customer Relationships at Standard Life, commented: “The economic downturn and price increases have left many parents expecting to have to financially support their children into adulthood. The only way to achieve this is through careful financial planning, so that the financial sacrifices parents make for their grown up children are not to the significant detriment of their own long term plans. Parents need to make sure their money works as hard for them as they are working for their children. That means being efficient with their savings and making the most of tax breaks offered by products like ISAs and pensions.”

Pensions are a tax efficient way for parents to save, with every £4 a person contributes, the government effectively contributes £1 as it rebates the income tax on contributions*. For those who are in a workplace scheme, their employer is likely to be topping up the contributions too.

ISAs help to build up a tax free cash lump sum which can be used to pay for a child’s wedding or to fund university fees. Parents can invest up to half of the annual ISA allowance and earmark that to help themselves and their children with more immediate costs. They can also consider investing the remainder of their allowance in a stocks and shares ISA which has the potential of greater tax efficient growth over the longer term to help with larger future costs.

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reveals Pensioners Fail To Count The Cost Of Ill-Health In Retirement

Prudential has revealed new research which shows that despite the ongoing debate about the need to fund long-term care for the elderly, only one in five people planning to retire this year have made financial provision for ill-health in retirement.

Prudential’s ‘Class of 2012’ study into the finances and expectations of those planning to retire this year shows that just 20 per cent have set money aside for any care needs. This drops to 16 per cent among those aged 65 plus.

Prudential’s research also found that less than half (45 per cent) of this year’s retirees have planned for the fact that they may need more income in retirement as they get older.

However, funding long-term care has never been more important. Although average life expectancy for men over the age of 65 is 17.6 years, and 20.2 years for women, healthy life expectancy is just 9.9 years for men and 11.5 years for women.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “People retiring this year realise that living longer may mean they will need a higher income as they get older, but few of them have made the connection between the risk of ill-health, and needing money to pay for healthcare.

“Although life expectancy is increasing, healthy life expectancy is flat-lining. With the average person now working until they are aged 63.4, people are enjoying fewer healthy years in retirement.

“Spending the first few years of retirement trekking in the Andes and running around after grandchildren may be a reality for some, but it is important not to forget that health will worsen as pensioners get older.

“Making financial provision for the possibility of ill-health in retirement should be an integral part of the retirement planning process.”

Across the country, those planning to retire this year in Wales are the most likely to have prepared for the risk of ill-health in retirement (32 per cent), while those in the East of England (7 per cent) are the least prepared.

The Government is currently considering recommendations from the Dilnot Commission on the Funding of Care and Support which, in July 2011, proposed that an individual’s contribution to social care should be capped at £35,000, with any additional costs funded by the State.

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reveals Two In Five 2012 Retirees Want To Stay In Work

Prudential has revealed that two in five (40 per cent) people planning to retire this year would be happy to work past 65 if they had the chance.

Prudential’s Class of 2012 study, which looks at the finances and expectations of those planning to retire this year, shows that 48 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women would be happy to continue working past the standard retirement age.

The main motivation for more than two thirds (68 per cent) of this year’s retirees who want to stay in the workforce past 65, is a desire to remain physically healthy and mentally active, while 39 per cent do not like the idea of retiring and just staying at home. More than half (54 per cent) claim that they enjoy working.

However, despite wanting to stay in work, only 13 per would choose to continue to work full-time with their current employer. Nearly half (49 per cent) of those retirees who want to work past 65 years old would prefer to work part-time, either with their current employer or in a new role, in order to strike a better work life balance.

More than one in 10 (11 per cent) of entrepreneurial retirees would consider starting their own business after the age of 65 or earn money from a hobby in order to keep working. Five per cent would work as charity volunteers.

Recent ONS figures show that average retirement ages are rising, with men now retiring at an average age of 64.6, compared with 63.8 in 2004, and women working until 62.3 years compared with 61.2 previously.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement expert at Prudential, said: “There is a new retirement reality taking shape across the UK, with thousands of people actively choosing to work past the traditional retirement age.

“The fact that so many of this year’s retirees would keep working on a part-time basis is a strong indication that, for many, working is as much about staying young at heart as it is about funding retirement.

“Gradual retirement is an increasing trend among pensioners, whether this means remaining in the same job on a flexible basis or even setting up their own business. Those retiring at 65 will face an average of nineteen years in retirement which makes the financial and social benefits of working for longer an even bigger draw for a new generation of industrious retirees.”

Around the country, those planning to retire this year from the East of England were the most keen to stay part of the workforce with 54 per cent saying that they would choose to work past 65 if they had the option. Half (49 per cent) of Londoners and 45 per cent of people in the South East would also like to continue to work.

However, just 29 per cent of Scots planning on retiring this year would be happy to work past 65 if given the choice, along with 30 per cent of retirees in Wales and in Yorkshire and Humberside, and only 21 per cent of those in the North East.

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Reveals Saving Money Is Top Priority For Thrifty Retirees

Prudential has revealed the results of new research which shows the top priority for people intending to retire this year is saving money to ensure they have enough to live on in retirement. Nearly 6 out of 10 people (57 per cent) said saving will be a top priority.

The insurer’s Class of 2012 study, which looks at the finances and expectations of those planning to retire this year, also found that women are more likely than men to prioritise saving during retirement. 62 per cent of women will make this a priority compared with 52 per cent of men.

Although saving money is a key focus, those intending to retire this year are still determined to have a fun-filled retirement. More than a third (36 per cent) say that spending money on travelling the world will be a priority for them, while 43 per cent will make spending money on enjoying themselves a priority.

Giving to charity and spending money on fighting the ageing process are low priorities for this year’s retirees. Fewer than 1 in 20 (4 per cent) image-conscious pensioners say that spending money on anti-ageing treatments will be a priority in retirement, while only slightly more will prioritise giving money to charity (5 per cent).

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “Today’s retirees are likely to spend longer in retirement than previous generations so it is encouraging to see that they understand the importance of saving money to ensure they can live comfortably. Saving shouldn’t be regarded as something that suddenly stops once you retire, and the current generation of retirees seems to be more aware of this than ever before.

“Saving as much money as possible, from as early an age as possible, is the best way to ensure you can afford a comfortable lifestyle in retirement. Consulting a financial adviser can also be an important step in helping retirees to make the most of their pension pots.

“It’s not only about saving though; many retirees in the Class of 2012 are determined to spend money on enjoying themselves and travelling the world, which seems a fair reward for all their hard work during their working lives.”

Via EPR Network
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Prudential Study Reveals One In Six Will Retire With No Pension

Prudential’s Class of 2012 study has revealed that one in six people (16 per cent) planning to retire this year will depend on the State Pension to fund their retirement as they have no other pension.

The figures come from Prudential’s Class of 2012 research, which provides insights into the financial expectations of Britons planning to retire this year.

Women are more than twice as likely as men to have no pension; 20 per cent of women retiring in 2012 will depend on the State Pension compared with just 8 per cent of men.

The average person planning to retire this year will look to the State for 34 per cent of their income, with State Pension payments set to rise to £107.45 a week for single people from the 6th April 2012. Company pensions (35 per cent) are the second highest source of income and the remaining 30% comes from a mixture of savings, investments, personal pension savings, part time work and money from family members.

The Prudential research also shows that one quarter (26 per cent) of people retiring this year either overestimate by more than £500 a year what the State Pension pays, or simply do not know.

Vince Smith-Hughes, retirement income expert at Prudential, said: “While the State Pension is a safety net for pensioners in the UK, it should only ever be regarded as part of an overall retirement plan.

“For far too many people, the State Pension has become the default income option in retirement. Even those who have some private provision depend so heavily on the State that it makes up a third of their retirement income.

“Although State Pension levels will rise to £107.45 for single people per week on Friday, this will still only provide relatively low levels of income to people in retirement. It’s a weak safety net for those without any savings and the real income shock for many retirees will come when the gap between their current earnings and the State Pension becomes apparent.

“If people want to maintain their standard of living in retirement it is important that they start to save as much as possible as early as possible, and the vast majority should join company pension schemes where possible. Seeking early advice from a financial adviser should also be a prerequisite to helping people achieve the level of retirement income they want and need.”

Regionally, people retiring this year in the Midlands are the most likely in the UK to rely on the State Pension (40 per cent). This compares with a quarter (28 per cent) of those in Scotland, who claim that they will be the least reliant on the state for their retirement income.

Via EPR Network
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Standard Life Reveals Less Than A Third Of UK Adults Know When The Tax Year Ends

Standard Life’s ‘Financial Efficiency’ research shows that a large number of people in the UK are at risk of missing the opportunity to capitalise on their ISA tax allowance and their pension contribution limits because they don’t know when the tax year ends. The research, which asked a poll of over 2000 people in the UK to say when they thought the end of the tax year was, found that only three in 10 Brits (31%) know the correct date.

The tax year end falls on April 5th, but the majority of the public (69%) either doesn’t know or thinks it’s a different date. Some said it was earlier in the year, with one in 12 (8% – more than 4.08 million people*) thinking the end of the tax year is April Fool’s day.

But more alarmingly, 7.27 million people** (15%) of respondents believe their tax deadline falls after April 5th. Even those who already actively save into ISAs can still get it wrong. Only 36% of ISA investors were able to correctly identify the tax year end date and a worrying one in six (17%), thought the tax year end was later than April 5th.

People in Northern Ireland seem to be the most clued up on the tax year-end deadline, with almost two in five (38%) identifying the correct date. While people in Wales were the least aware, with only one in four (25%) people able to correctly identify April 5th as the tax year end.

Standard Life’s Julie Russell commented: “Our research shows that few people know when the tax year ends. While more people believe it is before April 5th, each year than after, and that is perhaps less of a worry, it’s a real concern that so many ISA investors don’t know when the annual cut off point is for their investments.

“If you are saving into tax efficient savings or investments like ISAs or pensions, then you really do need to know when the tax year ends. The 5th of April should be front of mind. Otherwise you risk not making the most of these products and their valuable allowances.”

People can find out more about being financially efficient with investments like pensions and stocks and shares ISAs at www.yourfuturemoney.co.uk which also includes top tips and interactive tools.

Via EPR Network
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Standard Life Reveals “Don’t Spend What You Don’t Have” As Top Money Saving Tactic In UK

Research carried out for Standard Life suggests that, in the last three years, 5.3 million additional UK adults* have started adopting money saving habits, such as reviewing their utility providers, going online to find the best deals and using online voucher codes to save money. According to Standard Life’s ‘Financial Efficiency’ research, the recent downturn has now encouraged more than nine out of ten (91%) of us to engage in financially efficient behaviours.

But the most popular tactic, adopted by three in five people (57%), is a common sense approach – avoid spending what they don’t have and running up a debt on credit and store cards. Around 6.1 million more people are making sure they “don’t spend what they don’t have**”.

The research also shows that half of the UK (50%) regularly makes sure they shop around for the best prices at places such as the supermarket. Looking at those adults who could recall their habits three years ago in 2009, an increased number have turned to online voucher codes and loyalty cards to save money, and have also started budgeting. A third of people in the UK (30%) now set a weekly or monthly budget; up from only one in five (22%) saying they did so in 2009.

Yet the findings also suggest that in the last three years, there has been no change in the number of people seeking financial advice (8%) and only one in six (17%) is currently planning their finances to make the most of tax breaks from products such as stocks and shares ISAs and pensions.

Commenting, Standard Life’s Julie Russell said: “The results show just how well many of us are doing when it comes to setting budgets, shopping around and genuinely looking to get the best out of our money. And it’s great to hear that so many more people are determined not to run up card debt.

“Our research also shows that only a few of us are being quite so savvy when it comes to saving. That’s perhaps unsurprising in the current climate when the focus for many is on paying down debt and making ends meet. But that’s also why it’s so important to make sure we are getting the best returns on anything we are actually able to save. That means using ISAs which are really tax efficient, and not missing out on tax breaks offered by private pension contributions, for example. Efficiently managing whatever we are able to save can make a huge difference to both our weekly budget and our long term plans.”

Via EPR Network
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Standard Life Launches Ground-Breaking Corporate Investment Range

Standard Life has launched a new range of investments for corporate pension schemes aimed at making it easier for employees to select an investment strategy to suit their individual needs and attitude to risk.

The two new risk-based fund ranges, built on the success of MyFolio, are specifically tailored for the corporate pensions market and introduce new auto-enrolment default options, addressing the challenge of meeting the diverse needs of a workforce

Ann Flynn, Head of Corporate Marketing said: “Over the past two years we have been conducting extensive research with advisers, employers and employees. The employee’s investment choice, and lack of engagement in it, has been an issue the industry has been wrestling with for many years.

“The majority of employees are invested in the default fund and that’s why default strategy needs to be able to meet the diverse needs of a workforce. We’re now excited to be launching a range of investment solutions which addresses this challenge head on.”

Key findings of the research include:
– Employees find a wide range of investment choice confusing however there is still a demand to have some level of choice.
– Employees want a level of risk and return which is right for them but managed by experts.
– Employers simply want better outcomes for their employees within a strong governance framework, with competitive charging and minimal risk.

Flynn added: “Against a backdrop of negative pension stories and turbulent stock markets, employees tend to have a very low tolerance for taking investment risk with their pension and understandably so. However for many, a level of risk is needed to help generate the returns to achieve a decent standard of living in retirement.

“Our new range will help employees identify their attitude to risk through a simple questionnaire and align themselves to a strategy that best fits their needs. The information will be presented in a way that keeps it simple and shows them at a high level what they are investing in. However, they will also be able to ‘look under the bonnet’ if they want to. The risk-based range will be dynamically managed by internal and external experts who will monitor and adjust asset allocation to optimise performance.”

Key features and benefits of the range include two new risk-based ranges, Passive Plus and Active Plus, specifically for the corporate pensions market to complement the MyFolio Managed funds. A new life styling approach allows the underlying funds to be changed as necessary to help future-proof the investments while the Vanguard index-tracking funds, added in December 2011, will complement the BlackRock index-tracking range.

Employees will be able to easily identify their risk appetite and select an investment strategy to meet their needs and risk-based funds will be actively managed to help optimise returns. Moreover, employees will be offered clear options, based on how ‘hands on’ or ‘hands off’ they want to be with their investment selection and the new range provides employers and trustees with the flexibility to support a broad demographic. Advisers will also be able to recommend from an ‘off the shelf’ package of investment funds or design bespoke solutions for their clients.

Via EPR Network
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