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Why aren’t pensions the picture of happiness?

Published by Damian Stancombe on

"Most of us feel our way through life. Pensions people count their way."

Michael Lewis, the writer who gave us ‘The Big Short’ and many more books based on high finance, coined this phrase.

I’ve adapted it, but I think it accurately reflects the fracture between most people saving for their old age and the blind spot which looms when engaging with the industry who can deliver that ambition. We are exploring the emotional connection that needs to be made if people want to find out more about securing an income for when they no longer work.

We are exploring the emotional connection that needs to be made if people want to find out more about securing an income for when they no longer work.

How to do it? Not conventionally, that’s for sure.

Pictures were one way to get people’s attention; we themed our DC Snapshot event on photography. Specifically, we asked people to send us an image that made them happy and tell us why. 650 shots later, we had quite a gallery.

What we found didn’t surprise us. Something as fundamentally important – and potentially satisfying - as saving for later life was not on the list that brought a smile to your face. I could not remember one image – and I saw them all – which its author associated with pensions.

More than one hundred people attended the event at the unusual venue; a former tobacco warehouse in Wapping turned into a pop-up gallery for the best of the photos. We discussed how treating defined contribution pensions as products on a shelf; a retail experience; or even therapy – might be a way forward for the next generation.

That part of London is still being transformed and the boom and grind of demolition and renewal was the muffled backdrop for our guest speakers. Call it a happy accident, but the stir and thump of change was a fitting setting.

Do we convert what we have or knock it down and start again?

Our blogs and other coverage – including pictures - ought to give you a flavour of a thought-provoking day.

Brexit darkroom will still leave pensions in the spotlight

Former pensions minister Steve Webb took the political temperature for our DC Snapshot event and warned that the Brexit roadblock in Parliament would not protect pensions from possible tax changes. Mark Futcher explores.

Picture postcards from a global pensions tour

Clocking up nearly two million airmiles in the course of a global career in pensions is impressive enough. David Harris took us on a world tour of pensions and benefits to help inform how the UK should be viewing its own challenges.

Birthday wishes for a happier DC picture

This was the first time I had ever been treated to a chorus of “Happy Birthday” as I took to the podium. Now I had to live up to that rousing start. And you may think that talking about pensions was not the way to do it.

About the author

  • Damian Stancombe

    Damian heads up the Workplace Health and Wealth team for Barnett Waddingham. Damian advises a range of UK corporate and trustee clients on their workplace health and wealth issues; from scheme design through to ongoing governance for all defined contribution arrangements.

    View Biography

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