New guide combats pension jargon Plain English Campaign aims to stop 'gobbledygook'

05 May 2011

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A new guide from the Plain English Campaign offers clear guidance on key decisions and choices, from deciding to join a pension scheme to taking retirement income.

Redressing the balance

Launching the online guide, Plain English Campaign (PEC) spokeswoman, Marie Claire, said: ‘The pensions industry has had its own way for far too long: it suits actuaries and the marketing men to issue literature which is not only hard to understand for the layman, but top heavy in language that has become so archaic it is of little or no value to anyone who is preparing for their retirement,’

Deciding to join a pension scheme

Although the government will introduce ‘auto-enrolment’ from 2012, with many workers joining the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), at the moment only half of all employees belong to a company pension scheme. The new PEC pension guide stresses the benefits of joining a company pension scheme, pointing out that, ‘you will lose valuable benefits if you do not join one’.

Turning pension savings into retirement income

The new guide looks at the process of buying an annuity, with expert advice from Bob Bullivant of Annuity Direct. He stresses the importance of making the right decision at this stage and exercising your open-market option.

Which? pensions expert, Ian Robinson says: ‘Shopping around for the best annuity rate is vitally important, as is choosing the right type of annuity. Those who qualify for an enhanced annuity can boost their retirement considerably. The new PEC guide is a timely reminder to consider your options and make sure you get the best deal.’

More information on pensions

The PEC pensions guide concentrates on money purchase company pensions. Although these are increasingly prevalent, many employees still have defined benefit or final salary pension schemes. The state pension is also a significant factor in most people’s retirement planning. Recent changes have made more people eligible for full state pension, but it’s worth checking to see what you are likely to receive. The state pension age is also changing, to 65 for women from 2018 and 66 for both men and women from 2020.

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