One very important lesson that we have all learned from the last couple of years is: never be complacent in planning ahead for the unexpected. This is particularly true for looking after our own personal finances and health and wellbeing so that we are best placed and as resilient as possible to withstand whatever life has to throw at us. Few people ever enjoyed a job for life. However, none of us can now expect momentum to drive us from school to retirement. We have to take the controls through life planning. All of us need to plan for today, next week, next year and, with less precision, for future decades. We will need to trim and tack according to unforeseen developments but the existence of the plan provides us with useful reference points.
Understanding the importance of budgeting, saving and State benefit entitlements are fundamental for everyone, whatever their age or background and is a first step to starting a financial plan. We live in a world of acronyms, jargon, complex financial products and bureaucracy all of which are barriers to understanding what we need to know for planning for a financially secure future.
The workplace offers not only an efficient distribution channel for financial productsbut also provides an environment in which financial literacy can be improved. Employers are a trusted source of guidance and are ideally placed to segment their workforce according to perceived need. Employers already have the communication vehicles in place to educate employees on company benefits, policies and news. They also have time specific communications in place such as: new employee inductions; company pension eligibility and pre-retirement. In addition to this the Financial Services Authority and The Pensions Regulator have provided excellent reassurance to those employers who wish to offer guidance rather than simply provide a financial menu.
Good employers should not only offer help with financial literacy but also use their financial acumen to bring quality products within easy reach of their employees.
Alan Pickering, Chairman Life Academy