I’m very pleased that my friends at the DWP have asked me to promote their new social media campaign designed for us to get to know our pensions.
These clever people have sent me a link that allows me to click on these fine gnomes to reveal a gallimaufry of treats for a pensionholic like me.
These gnomes had first appeared on my phone when I was searching for state pension forecasts for the burghers of Peterborough on Sunday. Then someone turned up with one of those pop-up banners with the gnomes staring gnomically over Cathedral Square. Then the pensions minister turned up without a red hat or a fishing rod but with plenty of enthusiasm for all things digital.
I’m afraid I rained on Mr Opperman’s parade a little by informing him that well over half of the pension providers AgeWage is helping people to get to gnome, are not willing to allow us to analyse our investor’s data. Which makes getting to gnome their pensions a little hard for us.
Dear insurers– let’s be clear – you do not have to have a registered financial adviser to make a data request about your pension.
Dear pension administrators, you are required to honour a data requests and provide your customers with data in machine readable format (not paper or PDF)
Dear trustees, your administrators cannot demand copies of driving licences, passports and birth certificates in exchange for passing members details of their contributions.
Dear Minister– these insurers, administrators and trustees are standing in the way of the digital pensions dashboard by refusing to recognise electronic signatures and requiring wet signatures, with letters of authority sent to them by the Royal Mail.
Gnome fun finding your pensions!
One of the great gnomic sports laid on by the pension industry is the game of “find the pension”. The DWP estimates that unless we get a bit better at it, we will have 50m abandoned pension pots by 2050. Today over £20bn is lost to members and policyholders (according to the PPI).
We are awaiting the pension finder service that is at the heart of the pensions dashboard and we are awaiting a pensions dashboard – actually we are awaiting the pensions bill which enables the Government to set up a pensions dashboard and – I fear – there is a distinct possibility that we won’t get a pensions bill anytime soon (even though the DWP have told the FT that the only bill they want in the Queens Speech (ETA October 14th) is the pensions bill (with the dashboard in it. I asked the Minister about this and he rolled his eyes.
So it’s back to pension hunting and there’s a whole industry of pension sleuths including ourselves, Pension Bee, Pensions Link (Euraplan), Profile Pension not to mention the Government’s own services through MAPS and the DWP. Google Find my pension and off you go (though you’ll find many of lead generators among the good guys – and the odd scammer too). Like I say, it’s like navigating the straits of Hormuz!
Will the retirement I get be the retirement I want?
This is a good question. I suspect that my retirement will be a lot happier once I’ve set up AgeWage and got it dishing our value for money scores to millions of burghers in the UK.
In this I suspect I am going to be a cog in the DWP’s Gnome your Pension service and I’m looking forward to chatting to my friends in Caxton House about this – this morning. I am not proud, I think these gnomes are rather good and I have enjoyed spending the early hours of this morning messing around on this site.
Yourpension.gov.uk is offered under the Open Government Licence, which means I can employ these gnomes on Agewage.com to help us all out. Which I seriously think I will do.
There are conditions which you can read here but…..
and that sounds like a very sensible way to go about things!
Get to gnome your pension
Short of giving us a proper pension finder service and a dashboard to go with it, this new website is the best the DWP could do – just now – to help us get to gnome our pensions.
I am sure there are better pension calculators than MAS’ and I don’t thoroughly trust my state pension forecast (which I suspect is overestimating my NI payment history). I can throw stones at the Mid Life MOT. and the one to one pension “advice” I can get from Pension Wise.
But now is not the time to carp at what we haven’t got – or complain that the Government still confuse advice and guidance in their own videos. This is not a time to require people to take financial advice.
Instead this is the time to help ourselves and others get to gnome our pensions, which I intend to do!