Results of pre and post evaluations of over 200 tailored guidance and advice workshops and one to one surgeries in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, delivered to employees aged 50+, confirm that education is the key to motivating individuals to undertake retirement planning.
Stuart Royston, CEO of Life Academy said: ‘These results confirm how important it is for the private and public sectors to address retirement planning education to the 50+ age group.’
The DWP ‘50+ Working Lives’ Face to Face project that Life Academy has been running in the Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire area during 2008/09 has confirmed our experience that individuals have too little knowledge of pensions and money and too little time to devote to planning for the next stages of life and work.
However, increasing the knowledge of pensions, the understanding of the impact of longevity on finances, personal and family life and the way in which options and solutions are available by early planning, will pay big dividends in motivating individuals into positive planning action. The project that Life Academy undertook involved providing an information and guidance service for employees aged 50+ to: raise their awareness of the choices and opportunities to ‘work longer’; put the message into the context of the demographic changes, pensions, money, family and retirement changes and explore how extending working life might help with the issues they will face in the future.
The service was delivered through over 200 tailored workshops and one to one surgeries in Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire. Over 60 employers from the private, public and not for profit sectors participated.
The project is being evaluated by the Centre for Research in Social Policy (CRSP) at Loughborough University who will produce a report early next year. In the meantime to ensure the information we had designed met the needs of the participants, we asked two key questions in our evaluation process as follows:
1. Before you came what did you want to know or understand better?
2. Will you be taking or considering taking any specific action as a result of attending the workshop?
Results to the evaluation questions
Prior to attendance:
Economic issues dominated the answers to what participants wanted to know or understand better before they attended the workshop. A breakdown of participants answers are as follows:
• 90% wanted to know more about pensions.
• 61% wanted to know more about money issues.
• 39% wanted to know more about work issues.
• 31% wanted to explore goals and purpose in life.
• 28% wanted to explore leisure and use of time.
Health, relationships and self esteem were also topics of interest.
Answers to the question: ‘Will you be taking or considering taking any specific action as a result of attending the workshop?’, were segmented into the following categories: Pensions; Money; and Work and Personal. Results were as follows:
• 76% intend to review their pension forecasts
• 30% intend to increase their savings/investments for retirement
• 17% intend to increase their contributions to their pension scheme
• 4% intend to open a new pension plan
• 30% intend to prepare a personal budget
• 18% intend to pay off debts
Work and Personal:
• 40% intend to rethink their goals
• 36% intend to review their use of time and leisure
• 36% intend to review their work life balance
• 25% intend to consider a phased retirement
• 22% intend to consider flexible working patterns
• 20% intend to improve their health
• 15% want to work longer
• 15% want to increase their work related training
• 13% intend to improve their self esteem
• 8% intend to change their patterns of relationship
We found it interesting that at the outset participants’ interest was high on pensions and money issues and by the end of the session, whilst pensions and money were still important, quality of life issues, such as their goals and purpose of life, use of time, work/life balance, phased retirement and flexible working had gone up on their agenda.
Motivating into action:
When asking participants: ‘What had been the greatest help to them from the workshop?’:
• 58% said understanding pensions had been thegreatest help.
• 41% found life planning aspects most helpful.
• 32% found the greatest help was in motivatingthem to take action.
• 25% found the implications of longevity most helpful.
• 25% found understanding the changes that those aged 50+ will face most helpful.
For more information about the 50+ Working Lives Project, please visit: www.lifeacademy.co.uk/Projects/WorkingLives/