Pension savers opt to up rather than cut payments –

50% of pension advisors have reported an increase in demand for retirement planning services since the outbreak of Covid-19, while more than 40% of people have also revised their pension contributions upward to varying degrees.

These are among the main findings of a survey of over 100 pension advisors undertaken by Independent Trustee Company (ITC).

The survey reveals that during Covid, only 10% of advisors saw a reduction in demand for retirement planning services and just two in every ten pension savers reduced their contributions.

The ITC survey also found that 42% of responding advisors felt that people’s habits had changed in favour of greater pension contributions during the pandemic, while just 20% noticed a decrease in the amount their clients were putting in.

ITC said the increases may reflect a greater importance placed on retirement or a redirection of people’s additional disposable income.

Glenn Gaughran, Head Of Business Development And Marketing at ITC, said that events over the last 15 months have made people more aware than ever of how vulnerable they are in terms of health, wellbeing, and financial security.

Mr Gaughran said that Covid has exposed new perspectives on how we view what many might consider the “basics” and shown us that the future we are planning for is far more uncertain in reality than is often comfortable to believe.

“Since the onset of the pandemic, 90% of advisors have seen interest in retirement planning either continue as normal (40%), or grow (50%) during this time,” he said.

“In many ways, we are seeing the uncertainty and sweeping changes we have experienced over the last year or so unfold in terms of their impact on how we plan for our financial future, and how we perceive pensions and retirement in our list of priorities,” he added.

Today’s survey also reveals that 37% of people have increased their contributions a little, while 5% have increased them a lot.

Glenn Gaughran said this is perhaps indicative of the apprehension people feel to save extra for the future, but not so much that they suffer unduly now.

“By the same token, among those who have decreased their pension contributions – perhaps those feeling the economic pinch – a far greater number have decreased their contributions a little rather than a lot – 15% as opposed to 5%. 38% of responding advisors felt there was no change.

“So, while people are certainly responding to the changing environment, they are doing so very cautiously and strategically in terms of their pension planning,” he added.