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Carpe diem on Pension Reform

Auto enrolment can be the catalyst for change which will benefit generations to come. 

New research commissioned by Irish Life has indicated that support for the Government’s plan to make it automatic for everyone working to pay into a pension scheme is growing.  Belief that auto enrolment would encourage more people to save for their retirement has grown from 84% in 2017 to 86% in May 2019. (Source: Coyne Research, May 2019)

The climate for pension reform is improving.  The number of people in employment reached a record high at the end of last year and wages have risen again in recent years.

In a representative survey of 1,000 adults commissioned by Irish Life, affordability, as the main reason for not having a pension, has fallen to 34% (from 41% in 2017).  In contrast, inertia (“never got around to it”) has risen to a quarter (25% from 17% in 2017). (Source: Coyne Research, May 2019)

The message to the Government is “seize the moment”. 

Employment levels are now at a record high. We know our population is ageing and reform now is essential if we are to ensure that pensions are sustainable and viable in the future.  Currently there are 630,000 persons in Ireland over 65, -  in 30 years’ time this number increases to over 1.5 million.  The challenge to deliver an inclusive, accessible and affordable financial future grows by the day.

The Government’s 'Roadmap for Pensions Reform', proposed to introduce auto enrolment by 2022.  A Strawman Public Consultation Process on the auto enrolment scheme closed last November.  Over one hundred written submissions were received in response to the Strawman and the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection has described the response as positive and constructive.   The Minister has indicated her intention to seek Government decisions within weeks to enable the scheme to commence in 2022.

A positive decision as soon as possible is vital if the Government is to reach its 2022 target.  It is also important to realise that any delay will impact on the final pension pots for savers.

Irish Life’s own analysis is clear - any delay to the proposed implementation of Auto Enrolment by 2022 could have a very detrimental effect on the pension pots of potential savers in the scheme. A five year delay for a current 25 year old will see their retirement fund reduce by 17% and this shortfall grows to 21% for a 35 year old. For a 25 year old earning €25k this would mean their pension fund would decrease by nearly €84,000.

The experience internationally is that it takes a number of years to introduce reform of the nature needed now in Ireland. 

The Government has established a solid base to work off.  Momentum is vital if we are to meet the target of a new scheme in 2022.

Media coverage

 

Research was carried out by Coyne Research on behalf of Irish Life in May 2019.  The research involved a nationally representative sample of 1,000 adults aged 18+.