Pension Awareness Day - the awareness campaign launched by the amazing folk over at Pension Geeks - takes place this Sunday (15 September) and is the culmination of a week-long roadshow across the country aimed at making the topic of pensions more appealing.
The campaign to get people talking about pensions is an admirable one - and we wish it every success. But, while an increasing amount of work is being done to engage people with pensions and their personal finances more broadly, there are many who are taking the effort to improve individual finances in quite a different direction, promoting the habits of instant gratification over long-term savings.
Online betting sites, for instance. When I was growing up, you largely had to go to a betting shop, racecourse or casino to place a bet - and there weren't too many of the latter either. Now you can't look at a screen without seeing an ad for an online gambling site.
And the special offers they use to draw you in are so pervasive. ‘Get your welcome bonus now!' (Paddy Power); ‘Up to £100 in bet credits' (Bet 365); and ‘A world of betting at your fingertips' (William Hill).
I have nothing against betting - and will occasionally have a flutter myself - but the sheer number of adverts and special offers in this area seems plain wrong.
And then there are the credit card firms, those offering personal loans and the stores offering credit: ‘Buy now, pay later' (Littlewoods, Currys PC World and more); ‘0% for 27 months on purchases you make in the first 60 days' (MNBA).
How can pensions compete with this? Why should I squirrel money away for tomorrow when I can just borrow (and spend) today?
There are many people in this country that need more than just engaging with pensions - they need engaging with money more broadly; learning how to budget, manage their finances and understand the long-term costs of consumer credit.
Until we can address the issue of financial education in its broadest form, it will be almost impossible to get people to engage with their pensions.
Jonathan Stapleton is editor of Professional Pensions
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