Pension systems may sometimes fail to account for the diversity in modern societies. If we want to uncover how pension systems can adapt and become more inclusive, we must first understand the potential influences on people’s ability and willingness to save for retirement.
This includes how people’s attitudes and expectations towards retirement may vary according to socio-economic characteristics.
To understand more about diversity, equity and inclusion in pensions, we spoke to the Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) about their recent report, Diversity, equity, and inclusion in asset-backed pensions 1.
This report is the first piece of funded research produced as part of our joint research initiative with the OECD. It formed the latest phase of our thought leadership event programme, Thinking Forward .
According to the report, the main differences between different groups of UK adults are as follows2:
- Gen Xers (anyone born from 1965 to 1980) feel least confident that they are saving enough to have a comfortable retirement. Millennials (anyone born between 1981 and 1996) are next least confident.
Meanwhile, Gen Zers (anyone born from 1997 to 2012) are as confident as Baby Boomers , though they may not realise how much they will need to finance their retirement and may be over-confident about their retirement savings.
- Baby Boomers (anyone born between 1946 and 1964) are more likely to prefer less investment risk than younger generations, even if it means they have less money over the long term. Conversely, more Gen Zers and Millennials are happy to take more risks with their money for the chance of higher returns.
- Confidence in making financial decisions is lowest among Gen Zers and Millennials, and increases with age.
- Looking ahead to their retirement, Gen Zers are particularly uncomfortable talking about the prospect of feeling lonely, a loved one’s illness, feeling isolated and a loved one growing old. Meanwhile, Gen Xers are the most uncomfortable talking about not having enough money to live on.
- Gen Xers are the least likely to have done a great deal of financial planning. Nearly half of Gen Zers think they only need to start thinking about retirement planning when they get older.
- Women are less likely than men to feel confident they are saving enough to have a comfortable retirement. Overall, fewer women consider they have enough emergency savings, but differences between men and women are only significant among Gen Xers and Baby Boomers.
- Fewer women are happy taking more risks with their money for the chance of higher returns, except among Gen Zers and the Silent Generation (anyone born between 1928 and 1945).
- Women feel less confident making financial decisions, except within the Silent Generation.
- Women generally feel uncomfortable talking about many topics relating to retirement, particularly the need for care or going into a home, and not having enough money to live on.
- Fewer women have done a great deal of retirement planning.
- People of White ethnicity are less likely than those of Asian ethnicity to feel confident they are saving enough to have a comfortable retirement. People of Asian ethnicity are very savings-oriented, but favour products other than pension schemes to finance their retirement.
- Asian, Black, and Mixed ethnic groups are more likely than people of White ethnicity to be happy taking more risks with their money for the chance of higher returns.
- Asian and Black ethnic groups feel more confident making financial decisions than people of White ethnicity.
- Minority ethnic groups are more likely than people of White ethnicity to believe they will help their parents or in-laws financially in retirement.
- People of White ethnicity are less likely than Asian and Black ethnic groups to have done a great deal of retirement planning.
- Part-time and self-employed workers are less likely, compared to full-time workers, to feel confident they are saving enough to have a comfortable retirement.
- Full-time workers are more willing to take more risks with their money than part-time workers.
- Looking ahead to their retirement, self-employed workers are more likely to feel uncomfortable talking about becoming ill than full-time workers.
- Part-time workers are less likely than among full-time workers to have planned for their retirement.
Analysing how these socio-economic characteristics can influence attitudes towards retirement will be an ongoing process, as societies continue to evolve.
Hopefully, though, this process can help us to identify how pension arrangements need to be adapted to improve retirement security – for everyone.
Read the full OECD report: Diversity, equity and inclusion in asset-backed pensions
Find out more about our Thinking Forward programme: Thinking forward | Standard Life
1 These findings were based upon a deep-dive analysis of Standard Life Consumer Attitudes 2021 survey, for which Standard Life commissioned an independent online survey of around 5,000 individuals from around the United Kingdom in July 2021. The sample is broadly representative of the UK adult population with respect to age, gender, and region.
2 These views do not necessarily reflect those of Standard Life.