71% of employees are unfamiliar with the National Pensions Framework according to Bank of Ireland Life

Bank of Ireland Life today, 13 October 2010, reported that 71% of employees surveyed were not aware of the Government’s National Pension Framework proposals and that just one in five of those with a pension (19%), have sought advice since its launch earlier this year. The research* was carried out by the life and pensions company to launch its annual pensions campaign by highlighting the heightened need for professional pension advice.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Less than half (48%) understand the impact of the proposals on their retirement plans.
  • 88% of those without a pension believe that obtaining professional pension advice when starting a pension is important.
  • While 61% of those without a pension said that they were now going to seek pension advice specifically in relation to how the National Pensions Framework proposals may affect them and their retirement planning,13% had already sought advice on this recently.
  • 77% of workers were not aware of the Government proposal to reduce the tax relief on pension savings to a standard rate of 33%. However once informed, 46% said that they were likely to start or top-up their pension savings immediately in order to maximise the higher tax relief currently available.
  • Of those surveyed 71% were aware of the proposal to increase the State Pension age, but just 12% had sought advice in relation to bridging any financial gap that this proposal was likely to create.
  • 75% of employees questioned said they could not survive on the State Pension alone which currently amounts to €230 a week.
  • 51% of employees worry about their retirement: 83% expressed concern that they wouldn’t have sufficient savings or income to live on, 54% surveyed feared their health might decline, 32% said they might be bored due to lack of hobbies or interests and 19% felt they might become isolated.
  • 21% said that they would like to retire on or before 55 years of age, while a further 43% chose an ideal retirement age of between 56 and 60 years.
  • There was a marked disparity between the age employees said they would like to retire and when they thought they could afford to retire with 90% of workers wishing to retire before age 68. Almost 60% of workers recognised that they would have to start or top-up their pension savings in order to achieve a goal of early retirement. 18% said they would fund their early retirement through expected inherited money, while 17% said they would sell or downsize their home in order to raise sufficient finances.
  • 80% envisage having a very different lifestyle in retirement than that of their parents, planning to do more travel and holidays (64%), be more active (45%), be more social (31%), have more money (30%), and spend more on themselves (28%) with the rationale that money can’t be taken to the afterlife. A quarter said that they planned to give more of their time in retirement helping others.

Commenting on the survey results, Bernard Walsh, Head of Pensions, Bank of Ireland Life said: “With 81% of employees surveyed not seeking pension advice for a year or more, there is clearly an increased need for people to speak to a pension expert in order to maximise the current tax relief regime. Pension advisers are available in all Bank of Ireland branches nationwide who can take individuals through the National Pension Framework proposals, how they could impact on their savings today and the options available at retirement.

“The proposed changes to the pensions landscape will impact on everyone who has an income. However, it’s never too late to take steps to ensure that you have a comfortable retirement and the lifestyle you deserve at the end of your working life. People need expert help to navigate their way through these changes and to agree a comprehensive plan,” concluded Bernard Walsh.


Notes to Editor:
*Market research was conducted in September 2010 by W5 Marketing Intelligence on behalf of Bank of Ireland Life with a nationally representative sample of 300 consumers, aged between 30-60 years and earning over €35,000 per annum.

For further information contact:
Anne Mathews
Media Relations Manager
Group Communications
Bank of Ireland
Tel: 076-623-4771
Mob: 087 246 0358

Laura Erskine
Public Relations Manager
Bank of Ireland Life
Tel: 01 6172586
Mob: 086 856 2929

New Ireland Assurance Company plc trading as Bank of Ireland Life is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland and is a member of the Bank of Ireland Group. Bank of Ireland and Bank of Ireland Insurance and Investments Limited are tied agents of New Ireland Assurance Company plc and are regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.