PMI warns cost of living crisis to significantly reduce pension saving

One in five savers have either stopped or cut contributions in past twelve months alone

Jonathan Stapleton
clock • 3 min read
Sara Cook: A significant proportion of the general public is saving at rates that are lower than they were twelve months ago
Image:

Sara Cook: A significant proportion of the general public is saving at rates that are lower than they were twelve months ago

The impact of post-Christmas debt and higher energy bills in 2023 could lead to a significant reduction in pension saving, latest Pensions Management Institute (PMI) research shows.

The institute's research - based on a Censuswide survey of 2,000 working people completed in November - showed that most retirement savers have so far continued to pay contributions to registered pension schemes, despite pressures on household incomes from the cost of living crisis.

But the PMI said there was strong evidence that this may change - noting the research revealed that of those saving into a pension scheme over the past twelve months, 13% have reduced their contributions and a further 20% are considering doing so over the coming months. It added that 7% of those polled have already ceased their contributions and the number of savers who are feeling the impact of the cost of living crisis already is 40% already.

The PMI said it expects this number to continue to rise, possibly rapidly, particularly when the cost of Christmas and higher energy bills next year are felt - noting that energy bills are set to rise in April 2023 as the energy price guarantee for the average household will increase from £2,500 to £3,000 - a 20% uplift from its current level.

Commenting on the findings, PMI president Sara Cook said: "The pressures of meeting short-term needs for cash have forced many people to make decisions which could have serious implications for their longer-term financial security.

"Our research shows that a significant proportion of the general public is saving at rates that are lower than they were twelve months ago. They are aware of the impact this will have but feel that they have no alternative. By reducing or stopping contributions altogether, savers will be subject to a double whammy' in that they will not enjoy the benefits of tax relief or employer contributions. Our research serves as an early warning that the public is finding it harder to take a longer-term view of retirement saving when short-term pressures have become so great."

The PMI said the research also found the need to make savings had not been confined to contributions - noting that, of those old enough to do so, 17% have withdrawn money from their pension savings to meet short-term needs.

It added that over 75% of workers were concerned that the cost of living crisis would have a detrimental impact on their plans for retirement - adding that some 70% of those polled believed that they would have to defer retirement.

The PMI said workers typically expect they will need to work for an extra three years to due to the crisis - with some 28% believing they would never be able to retire at all.

Cook added: "It is tragic that all the good achieved by automatic enrolment over the last decade might be undone by desperate people being forced to make short-term decisions at the expense of their longer-term security.

"Concern about the consequences for retirement of the current crisis was shared equally across all age groups, all income levels and all regions. The nation as a whole has lost confidence in its prospects for a comfortable retirement, and that is something that should alarm us all."

More on Industry

Why member communications must be strategic

Why member communications must be strategic

Vidett’s Suzi Lowther says the trustees are starting to consider using wider comms methods and formats

Suzi Lowther
clock 22 April 2024 • 3 min read
Buzz: Should the government accelerate the expansion of AE?

Buzz: Should the government accelerate the expansion of AE?

AE expansion, public trust in pensions, small pots and pensions industry innovation

Professional Pensions
clock 22 April 2024 • 1 min read
DWP 'remains committed' to AE expansion in 'mid-2020s'

DWP 'remains committed' to AE expansion in 'mid-2020s'

Industry fears reforms will now be pushed back until later this decade

Holly Roach
clock 22 April 2024 • 2 min read
Trustpilot