Certain to become a fixture in the pensions world

Certain to become a fixture in the pensions world the Playpen is an opportunity for us to change how we view pensions.

With a focus on value, social media engagement and education it provides an opportunity to take a new look at the old approach and, where necessary, prune out-dated ideas.

By harnessing the power of the people it might even bring trust back into the financial system!
The Playpen will also encourage employers to look beyond their scheme, across the understanding chasm towards employees in a very real sense.

Rather than merely examining the operational challenges, costs, fees and performance of a scheme, employers have an amplified opportunity to consider how corporate pensions can be best communicated to employees. The best benefits in the world mean nothing if misunderstood or under-utilised.

The financial landscape continues evolving in this challenging economic environment, and responsibility (and risk) for decisions is placed increasingly in the hands of ill-equipped workers. Thus the pressure to make the right long term decision is important as never before. There is a danger that employees will believe that being auto-enrolled in a company pension will adequately fund their desired lifestyle beyond retirement and we must be wary of such complacency. Additionally, as we have seen recently (in regards to interest only mortgages) seemingly simple decisions can have long felt, and expensive, negative outcomes which can lead to financial despair.

The national roll out of auto-enrolment is a singularly unique opportunity to encourage greater understanding, better habits and improved money management.  Raising the financial capability skills of the workforce will become a bigger priority for many employers who are seen as (potentially) trusted sources of guidance and information. In turn employers will wish to be seen as understanding the pressure many employees face at this time of rising costs and static salaries.

Some companies might be reticent about crossing the regulatory line which separates education from advice which is why our ambition at Blackbullion is to make the case for independent, passionate and engaging workplace financial education. Not as an opportunity to distribute product but to quench the thirst for financial knowledge we see in the young people we meet every day.

It is because of them we are obsessed with the idea that being master of your money is far preferable to being slave to your debt. We know that employees with greater financial capability skills are more productive, more able to handle the downturns in the inevitable ebb and flow of life and less likely to suffer from physical and mental stress over financial worries

The Money sickness syndrome report (AXA 2010) found that as many as 90% of adults suffer symptoms arising from stress, one of the most common causes of workplace absence. This is estimated to cost the economy £3.7 billion a year in lost productivity, with 1.4 million people taking time off because of money worries.

Reams of stats coming out of the US and Australia present compelling evidence that companies can improve their bottom line by helping their employees take care of their own. An engaged workforce, confident in its employers’ commitment is more productive and motivated and in no cohort is this more evident that in generation X and the elusive millenials.

Financial education is not altruism, its corporate common sense.

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