An outlook on pensions by Tony Lawless
Tony Lawless, Managing Director, Irish Life Corporate Business
Finance. You might be pretty clued-in, but have you ever wondered how savvy we are as a nation? The answer is not very, if the research we carried out is anything to go by. We want to help change that. 
The research we commissioned found that many Irish adults are struggling to understand personal finances and pensions in particular. 
Take retirement. We all know it’s coming, but how many of us have worked out exactly how much we’ll need to live on when this time comes? According to the research, less than a third of us. And a fifth of people who do have a pension plan, have no idea what they, or their company, pay into the pot each month. A staggering 84% of those surveyed feel that people in Ireland are not saving enough for a comfortable retirement. 
This correlates with what we are seeing in the pensions we pay out. Based on Irish Life’s 2015 figures, the average annual pension payment paid was €5,332. The reality, is that for most of us this amount is not enough to enjoy a comfortable retirement. With such an ageing population, and so many people finishing their working lives without enough saved for retirement, these financial knowledge gaps are a problem. 
Only 29% of us know how much we need to live on in retirement
So, over two thirds of people do not know what they need to live on in retirement. We at Irish Life want to change that. Our aim is to help people understand what they need to save for their life after work, and to help them to reach that target. 
A personal approach to company pensions
Our company pension plans are all about more clarity for people and less complexity. We want to encourage people to engage with the pension their employer has for them and take advantage of the tax benefits saving into a pension brings. We offer simpler, easier to understand pension updates with a personalised pension target. Our approach also keeps people up-to-date regularly to let them know how they are doing versus their target. The personalised pension target information is available 24/7 online with a private log on. It’s also now available via our new Irish Life EMPOWER app. And for those who just prefer paper, their target information will be updated annually in their pension statement. 
Our approach aims to improve employee awareness of their retirement savings, making it easier for them to make meaningful pension contributions to improve their retirement pot while they are working. Another part of the Irish Life EMPOWER service is to meet with employees to show them how their pension is performing, and to help them make any necessary adjustments along the way so they can get more for their money. And if you’re an employer, like you, we want to ensure that your employees get the most out of the pension you provide for them. There’s another added bonus for employers too. By helping staff secure better futures, a happier, more appreciative workforce is inevitable. 
Article published in The Pheonix, 6 October 2017. 
Research completed by Coyne Research for Irish Life, 2015.