Jonathan Stapleton wonders why we are so gloomy about pensions when the picture is not as bleak as is often portrayed
Well, it's official. 2018 was the single worst year I have ever had in terms of the returns on my pension pot - with ‘performance' for the year coming in at -8.60%. My only solace is that my pot outperformed the FTSE All Share (-12.95%) and the MSCI World (-10.43%).
I have, however, resolved to be more positive this year so will see this not as a setback, more an opportunity to buy further units at a lower price. And I do still have more than 20 years to go until retirement.
But why is it we are all so gloomy about pensions? It certainly isn't as bleak a picture as is portrayed.
Yes, I know there are challenges - and, in some cases, scandals too - but the vast majority of people have done very well out of our pensions system and are receiving a solid income in retirement because of it.
I think the problem we have is too many people have too much of a vested interest in bad news. Hardly anyone wants to read a good news story (but please do prove me wrong by sharing this article with the hashtag #PensionsPositive).
But it isn't just journalists… Industry bloggers, commentators, the Twitterati as well as consultants, lawyers and policymakers all have an interest in finding the problems in pensions and shouting about them - boosting personal and corporate profiles and bolstering fee income.
There are, however, so many positives if you look for them. More people than ever are now saving into a workplace pension and the coming year will see a host of pension positives - including the master trust authorisation regime, the next stage of auto-enrolment phasing and further work on the pensions dashboard. We may even see further improvements in defined benefit funding.
Professional Pensions has asked a number of the industry's leading figures to set out what they feel are the key pension positives for the year ahead. But do let us know if we have missed some out.
The industry must step up to the pensions positivity challenge in 2019 - after all, if pension professionals can't be positive about pensions, who can?
The Co-operative Group's Somerfield Pension Scheme has completed a buy-in with Pension Insurance Corporation (PIC), insuring the benefits of its pensioner members.
Caroline Rookes CBE and Michele Hirons-Wood have joined The Pension Superfund's board of trustees to focus on maintaining governance standards and safeguarding member benefits.
The first specialist independent firm advising pension schemes on bulk annuities or moving to a consolidator has been set up with ambitions to shake up the market.