Now the dust has settled on the Pensions Awareness Day (week) 500 mile bus tour, founder Jonathan Bland reflects on the key lessons learnt
1. Face to face interaction
We need to bring pensions to the people. During the campaign, many visitors to the bus knew they needed to sort out their pension but by their own omissions have put it off or pushed it aside. Also, many really didn’t know how to go about sorting their finances out, how to take the next step or who to turn to.
Something simple like a huge blue bus with a clear message, really bought the pensions issue to the forefront of people’s minds and by having the facility to ask questions, free from agenda, people went away much happier and in a clearer state of mind.
2. Creativity is key
We need to be more imaginative and creative. In the main, we all know that pensions are an important factor in our futures and having an adequate pension should be a no-brainer shouldn’t it? So why is it that so many people just cannot engage with them?
I don’t believe this is solely down to people being unable to afford to save, I believe it’s the message and how pensions are presented. We need to break with the status quo, use fun, interactive and engaging techniques and a one size fits all approach to communication just isn’t going to work.
3. There’s a long way to go on financial education
Many young people think pensions don’t apply to them. The spare few moments that I actually had during the campaign, I just observed the many people walking by and listened to their reactions to the bus.
A common theme amongst the many young college/university goers was: ‘pension – I don’t need a pension,’ ‘pensions are for old people!’ Financial education is the starting point and we need to connect with young people more at college and university level.
4. More awareness needed for Pension Wise
Pension Wise needs to go on a massive awareness campaign itself. What was clear from the visitors to the bus was that vey few people had heard of Pension Wise and what it offers.
As Ros Altmann has said, Pension Wise needs to be a strong brand but I’m afraid, at the moment, most people don’t even know it exists.
5. Awareness is for life, not just Pensions Awareness Day
Pension Awareness needs to be for life, not just for five days. Although the campaign was well received and did help the 500 plus people we managed to reach, it wasn’t nearly enough.
We need to engage with more people and we need the government, more businesses and providers to get involved and show their support.
Jonathan Bland is a director at Pensions Geeks and a founder of Pensions Awareness Day