Pensions Awareness: It pays to know

Image of Graeme Bold

Graeme Bold

Workplace Pensions Director

September’s Pensions Engagement season is in full swing, starting off with Pensions Awareness Week on 11 September and moving on to the PLSA and ABI (Pensions and Lifetime Savings Association and the Association of British Insurers)  ‘Pay your Pension Some Attention’ campaign.  

I’m really proud we’ve been involved since the very early days a decade ago. We joined up with a group of T-shirt wearing, pension enthusiasts who wanted to shatter the idea that pensions had to be dull, complicated and only for the few.   

It all began just as auto enrolment arrived to get people saving into workplace pensions. Employers now help millions of people save for their future, which is a great thing. 

Pensions Awareness 2023

Our involvement has got bigger and better for 2023 and gives pensions the kind of attention they deserve. We’ve been planning our employer Pensions Awareness support for months, with Scottish Widows colleagues working tirelessly to set up virtual employer events, create videos, explainers and much more. 

We’re running more events than ever before, with webinars and live expert Q&A sessions, as well as a wider campaign on bus stops and train station billboards. It’s on LinkedIn and on TikTok to reach a wide range of audiences, including younger groups less likely to be engaged with their pension. 

Take a look in the pensions mirror

Perhaps my favourite is our new Pension Mirror* tool for workplace savings which uses AI to guess your age. Access it with a QR code and log in or download the Scottish Widows app to see how your pension savings compare to the average pension pot size for people of the same age. 

It’s a bit of fun, but with a serious purpose behind it.  

A big part of this campaign is to get more employees to check their pensions, more often. Much like they do with their bank account.  

We want to break the link where it’s only those with the biggest pension savings are engaged and checking their funds regularly. 

Pension ‘appy’

Using an app makes it easy to check a pension and we need to norm this kind of behaviour. 

As my colleague Robert Cochran highlighted in his recent article we want to help people understand what they’ve got, consider if it’s likely to be enough – and take steps on what they can do next.  

By understanding their pension and making plans they’ll have a better chance of saving enough for the lifestyle they want and retiring when they want to. 

Many people are already there. I was in a taxi a while ago and got chatting to the driver who asked me what I did for a living. When I said I worked for Scottish Widows, he surprised me by telling me he checked his pension savings every day, knew how much he had, and what he needed to save.  He was optimistic about his financial future. He was definitely engaged. 

That’s a good news story and we want there to be many more.  

Our multi-employer virtual events running throughout the year have helped more than 35,000 people get to know their pensions better this year – with more to come.  

Pensions Awareness: past, present, future

Pensions Awareness has come a long way in 10 years and the next 10 years could be even more interesting. By then – looking ahead to 2033 – many employees will have been saving into workplace pensions through auto enrolment for close to two decades. 

When they check their pension on their phone app (perhaps almost as often as they check their bank account), they can see how their pension savings may have built up, with money they’ve saved along with their employer’s contributions. Then there’s the tax relief on what they’ve paid in, too. 

And if they have a better chance of a financially secure retirement, with more choices about how they live their life, and with stronger financial wellbeing, that will really be a pensions story worth celebrating. 

Perhaps one day we won’t need a Pensions Awareness season every September – because people will be as engaged with their pensions as they are with their everyday money.  

Here’s to that day! 

Check our pensions engagement hub for ways to support employees. 

*Pension Mirror is best accessed via a mobile, not desktop. 



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