90 per cent of UK kids want to be taught about pensions

A recent Scottish Widows study has found that around 90 per cent of 11 to 18-year-olds believe they should be taught about pensions at school to help them in the future.

Stuart Price, Partner and Actuary at pension and employee benefit consultancy Quantum Advisory, is an advocate for financial education for secondary school children. He says: “This study is very encouraging in that children of secondary school age are looking ahead to the future and already thinking about their finances.  

“However, while the study found that nearly 9 out of 10 children wanted to be taught how to save for retirement, only a quarter (24 per cent) were actually being given guidance on the matter. In my opinion this needs to change, and financial education should be included in the national curriculum as a matter of course alongside maths and English.

“It is crucial that, once in employment, people get into the habit of regularly putting money aside into a dedicated pension fund to give them enough money to be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement when they finish work. The earlier they get into this routine and – crucially - understand why they are doing it, the better. This is compounded further by the rapid decline of defined benefit pension schemes in the private sector with only around 10 per cent still open to future employees. So, the younger generation, unless working in the public sector are unlikely to benefit from these types of ‘gold standard’ pension schemes.

“On the positive side, the impending pensions dashboard will allow savers to see exactly how much they can expect to retire on if they continue saving as they are, which will make things a lot clearer, particularly for younger savers. 

“If people have a broad understanding of their pension obligations when starting out in their career, followed by regular financial workplace training, for many this should provide them with the fighting chance to retire at a reasonable age and with a decent level of income.”
 

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