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89% of young people say pensions should be taught in school

At the start of My Money Week (12-16th June) a new survey has revealed that 89% of young adults want pensions to be made a bigger part of the national curriculum, and the vast majority support reducing the age of automatic enrolment (AE) to 18. 

The research conducted by NOW: Pensions, in partnership with charity, Debate Mate, surveyed more than 1,000 young adults aged 11-27 years.

The young adults have also been keen to explore AE from age 16 – echoing recent parliamentary debates – with two-thirds (66%) of young adults supporting this.

This research supports NOW: Pensions position that AE should apply from age 18. 

NOW: Pensions Underpensioned research with the Pensions Policy Institue (PPI) shows implementing the age change and removal of lower earnings level would increase pension wealth for some underpensioned groups by as much as 52%. 

My Money Week

My Money Week, is a national activity week for primary and secondary schools that aims to get young adults excited about money and help them to gain the skills, knowledge and confidence in all money matters. First launched in 2009, the theme for #MyMoneyWeek this year is ‘Mind Over Money’.

As part of its partnership with Debate Mate, the mentoring organisation which runs after-school debate programmes across the UK, NOW: Pensions, conducted a survey of young adults (11-27) to gain an insight into the younger generations’ understanding of pensions and their thoughts on personal finance more broadly. 

The workplace pension provider for more than two million members, has worked closely with the charity Debate Mate since 2020, and so far, mentored 3,500 students from inner-city schools about money, savings and pensions through their mentorship programme including inter-school debate competitions.

The results of the poll follow the most recent pensions savings data released by the Department for Work and Pensions which indicated that even at the age of 16-24, there is a gender pension gap of 50%, showing just how early on the gender pension gap begins to take hold and risks leaving women behind.

Support for the AE Expansion Bill

NOW: Pensions welcome government support for the private members bill that will enable the expansion of auto enrolment to more pension savers. The pensions company would like to see additional government commitment on the delivery of these measures – including a roadmap for implementation, and an update to Parliament within 12 months of Royal Assent. 

NOW: Pensions said this will ensure savers will benefit in the foreseeable future, and enable savers, employers, schemes, and the industry to plan and work with government on implementation.

In addition, the company suggests this bill also offers an opportunity for government to commit to other key matters for the future of AE pension saving and pension saver outcomes – including a formal review of AE to establish consensus about strategic direction on matters such as scope and contribution levels – to ensure it evolves beyond its initial implementation stages and remains relevant and fit for purpose. 

Patrick Luthi, CEO of NOW: Pensions: “We are one of the very few UK workplace pension providers who accept all employers and their employees into the scheme. 

“We have long taken an interest in how to improve pension savings for our members and have worked with the Pensions Policy Institute (PPI) for several years to look at the scale of the pension savings gap, and how best to address the issues of chronic under saving for retirement. 

“Government’s backing of this bill was a watershed moment for the pensions industry, one that we have long called for. While it is a moment for celebration, we’re not at the finish line yet and we will continue championed these proposals for the benefits of savers, working with government and industry stakeholders until these reforms are fully delivered.”

Aqsa Ali, a mentor on the Debate Mate and NOW: Pensions school engagement sessions: “At the start of the lesson not many children knew what/ how a pension works, they came out of the lesson knowing what a pension is, the difference between a public and private pension and they also had strong opinions by the end of the session about pension inequality. 

“The children all agreed that a pension is important for everyone and “everyone deserves an equal pension.  

“At the end of the session when I asked for their thoughts and reflections one child said that ‘it was sad that some people don’t have enough money to enjoy the future when they have been working hard all their lives’.”

“From delivering this session it has inspired me to involve myself more in the campaign against pension inequality.”

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