How do we change the way people perceive pensions?

As a pensions enthusiast, I’m always trying to convince friends that it's important to save for their future. All too often, it falls on deaf ears - even before I get onto the exciting topic of tax relief.

The sad thing is, they are blissfully unaware that the decision to save more for the future is about to become more relevant, given the increases to minimum pension contributions that came into effect at the beginning of this tax year. So, why do some people ignore the need to save more towards their future? Here are my top four reasons:

  1. Pensions are seen as a cost. They are often written about as ‘just another thing to hit pay packets’.
  2. Pensions are inaccessible, a world filled with jargon and complexity.
  3. People do not like to discuss pensions in their everyday lives.
  4. Pensions are seen as something that older generations have. They don’t resonate with today’s workforce.

How can we tackle these issues?

Encourage people to make decisions on their future pension size, not just their immediate salary.  

A person is looking for a new role and searching across multiple job boards. They know the salary range the employer is willing to pay. But they don’t know how much their future pension savings could be worth. What happens if... a job advert includes an illustration of what their pension savings could be worth?

For example, if you pay 5% of your salary and stay with us for <X> years, this is what your pension could look like. (Insert caveats). This could create a virtuous circle for employers and employees. For example:

  1. People start making decisions which include their potential pension savings, not just salary, because they can see the tangible benefit of doing so.
  2. Employers start appreciating that providing a good pension scheme is important to future employees.
  3. Employers may then improve their current contribution structure, to help attract and recruit talent.
  4. Employees will start saving more towards their future as they can understand that saving and pension packages are important.

Try to simplify pensions and be consistent

Yes, we all know that the industry is filled with jargon. Whether it’s additional voluntary contributions, annuities or salary sacrifice, the list goes on...We just need to be consistent with the terms we choose. Simple, consistent and jargon-free communications are the best way to get people to engage with their pension.

Make pensions an everyday conversation

While the word ‘pension’ is not as scary as you-know-who in Harry Potter, it can sometimes be a conversation killer. The DWP’s recent Gogglebox campaign talks openly about pensions and helps to break down social barriers. Encouraging people to have open and honest conversations about their pension will only further break down these misconceived perceptions.


Provide pension platforms that can actually engage and support everyone's needs. At Smart, we’ve disrupted the industry not only by integrating with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, but also through our award-winning app and platform design. These innovations make pensions accessible for everyone and help introduce pensions into our everyday lives. By doing this, we are more likely to break through generational barriers, in particular, millennials and the even younger Generation Z, who expect to have the ability to engage with their pension in the same way they would with their Monzo account.

and back disruption...

Support new fresh thinking initiatives. NextGen’s promotion of inclusivity within pensions is great for the industry. They aim to promote and encourage the next generation working within the industry and challenge the still-evident stereotypes that exist. The initiative believes that by encouraging fresh ideas and perspectives, it will be better equipped to challenge the status quo now and further down the line.

About Smart

Smart is a global savings and investments technology platform provider. Co-founded in 2014 by Andrew Evans, Group CEO, and Will Wynne, Group MD, it is one of the UK's largest providers of workplace pensions. Its award-winning master trust, Smart Pension, is overseen by independent professional trustees.

In 2020 Smart Pension was named Master Trust Offering of the Year at the Pension Age Awards. Other awards include DC Master Trust of the Year, DC Innovation of the Year and Retirement Innovation of the Year in the 2019 UK Pensions Awards. Smart Pension was also named European Pension Fund of the Year 2019 in the European Pension Awards.

Legal & General Investment Management (LGIM), J.P. Morgan, Link Group, Natixis Investment Managers, Barclays, Chrysalis Investments and DWS Group are all investors in Smart.

We tweet as @SmartPensionUK.

For media enquiries

Contact the Smart press office on 020 8016 2553 or email [email protected]