Freelancer body IPSE is urging the Government and the pensions industry to take steps to overcome what it calls "the pensions PR problem" in order to improve the retirement prospects of millions of self-employed people.
Last week, the Government withdrew its involvement in the pensions dashboard. This was despite IPSE's finding that 51% of the self-employed trust Government websites as a source of guidance.
Only 31% of the UK's self-employed population are paying into a pension. One of the reasons, says IPSE, is that "pensions have a PR problem, with their inaccessible, complicated language and cumbersome paperwork".
IPSE's report, How to solve the self-employed pensions crisis, makes a number of key recommendations in order to encourage more freelancers to save for their retirement:
- Pension products should be more user-friendly and engaging. The terms of a policy must be clearly set out with understandable and engaging language;
- The Government should deliver its promised pensions dashboard. Access to real-time, transparent information on an individual's pension pot will allow them to work out how well prepared they are for later life and, where necessary, make improvements;
- Pension providers should develop smartphone apps. This would provide a user-friendly, easy-to-access platform to help savers understand the value of their current pot and its projected worth in the future.
"With just 31% of the self-employed paying into a pension, there is a crisis hanging over the sector and we must take action to avert it," said Jonathan Lima-Matthews, IPSE's senior policy adviser. "Our landmark report found one of the key reasons for low saving rates among the self-employed is the pensions industry's PR problem.
"Despite their best intentions, the pensions industry has a lot to do to bring the 3.3 million self-employed people not saving into a pension back into the fold, and a good starting point is improving communications. Self-employed people often feel bewildered by pensions options that are inaccessible and loaded with jargon. This can often put them off engaging with pensions altogether."