Words resonate in strange ways and when they come in pairs new resonances emerge.
Last week, Martin Lewis called “pension” a broken brand (worrying to the owner of the Pension Play Pen). The idea behind the word “club” seems to be under similar threat, an anachronism for those of us who associate via on-line groups.
Put “club” and “pension” together and you get an odd resonance with “club penguin” wot every parent knows is where their kids go before they discover Facebook.
I’m attracted to clubs – football and gentlemen’s; even the biscuit (do they still make them?)
Hymans Robinson set up a club og enthusiasts for better data on how long we live – “club vita”. Maybe the Pension Play Pen should become Club Pension where you go before becoming obsessed with getting old!
But “to the point Tapper!”
The UK occupational pension scheme started life as a club to which employees that a company wanted to keep were invited. Over time it became a club that the company threw open to almost all its employees and under auto-enrolment even those who don’t get frog-boiled will be “entitled” to join the occupational scheme (except we now have to call them workplace because “occupational” means something technically different).
Now you might think that any club that is open to everyone isn’t worth joining and no doubt there are some sniffy pension specialists who still think auto-enrolment so dilutes the gold-standard pension of the public sector as to be a pollutant.
But I think that they are missing an opportunity to refresh the word “pension” from the island of broken brands. If we start not with the debased word but with the aspiration for the word , can we not mend “pension”?
The Club I have in mind is the Company – a word which when you think of is no more than a descriptor for “club”. If all in the Company are in Club Pension then don’t we have an alignment of purpose?
We are currently reviewing our pension arrangements at First Actuarial. We have formed a worker’s committee to work out what we as staff want and to deliver it. It’s a pensions club if you like. The cost to the Company’s cashflow is the same whether we get a good or a bad pension but the value to the Company of a good pension scheme over a bad one is sufficient to make this review really important to us.
It’s asking us “what’s good” and what “isn’t good” and some of the conclusions we are coming to are quite different to where we started.
I started this year with the idea of “Popcorn Pensions“, a notion that pension plans should be enjoyed, perhaps I will finish with the idea of “Club Pension”!
My hope is that as we enrol the nation, the nation will cotton on to the notion that in a club, everyone has a say and mutual interest. If we get people demanding better, as we are at First Actuarial (of our own scheme and of those of our clients) then we will have Popcorn Pensions and people will start looking at these savings plans as a lifeline to a happy old age.
- “The older I get, the less I trust my pension!” (henrytapper.com)
- Labour wants to see lower cost and more transparent pension schemes (guardian.co.uk)
- One in three workers has never had a company pension (telegraph.co.uk)
- Pensions lifeboat weathers downturn in the industry (telegraph.co.uk)
- The importance of saving into a pension early (justsave.co.uk)
- Thousands of London workers automatically enrolled on workplace pension schemes (standard.co.uk)