Google searches during 2015 in the UK for the term ‘pensions freedoms’, including other variants with and without plurals, have increased more than ninefold, according to the latest data gathered from the search engine. The vast increase appears to present evidence that pension freedoms have resonated with people in the UK, as well as making many more aware of pensions in general. However, industry commentators have wisely pointed out that this doesn’t necessarily equate to more positive outcomes.
As well as naturally catching the attention of those close to retirement, pension reform has an additional audience made up of those still a long way off retiring looking to cash in their pension because they have the ability to do so. What this will mean for the latter group in terms of their capacity to retire later in life is currently unknown, as is the potential impact for their employers.
The risk exists that the search trend shows that there is a large group of people who are more aware, but less well informed about pension freedoms and the way the system works. The danger also exists for many individuals to be caught by malicious companies, whilst searching for pension freedoms.
This remains a ‘chicken and egg’ equation for both the UK government and individual UK businesses. Whilst systems such as auto enrolment have made it easier for people to save, and pension freedoms have made it easier for people to use their pensions as they wish, the new group of savers could now engage with the new systems, without knowing exactly how to use them to their advantage.
If you are one of the many who Googled ‘pensions freedoms’ or something similar last year, and you still have questions, get in touch and we’ll be happy to provide you with some answers.