Irish Life backs plans to automatically place workers into pension schemes...
While over 50% of Irish adults have no private pension arrangements in place, Irish Life has said that there is evidence to show that people are open to persuasion about increasing their savings for retirement.
Ireland's biggest pension fund is aiming to "nudge" workers towards planning for the future and increasing their contributions to ensure a better post-employment quality of life. It comes hot-on-the-heels of Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar confirming he will look to reform pensions in 2017.
Irish Life's Tony Lawless told Breakfast Business that we must address the fact that "loads of people aren't even thinking about a pension".
He revealed that company research has shown that a mere one-third of people with 10 years to go until retirement actually have an idea what they will require financially:
"Only one in four people discussed their retirement with their partner, which is shocking really."
So how much should people be putting away?
"We think a third of your salary plus your State pension is realistic," he recommended.
"So that would mean maybe somebody on an average salary of €50,000 would be targeting about €29,000 [to live on annually] . But the reality is that people are probably under that. They're targeting getting closer to €18,000 to €20,000 and at that stage you're going to have to make some difficult choices [to make]."
"It's like going to the dentist," said Lawless. "Everybody knows they have to go to the dentist and everyone's glad when they've done it. But nobody thinks: 'I wonder how my teeth are today?'"
Irish Life has found that changing attitudes and, most importantly, the level of action is very much achievable
Some 69% of people believe it is "a really good idea" to be auto-enrolled into a pension plan.
Citing one large, "progressive" employer, Lawless said that its young workforce meant that half of employees weren't in its workplace pension scheme.
"What they decided to do was enrol people into the maximum; so they paid 7% and the employee paid 7%."
Following a big campaign and engagement from Irish Life, today 90% of the workforce have opted to stay in the scheme, with 82% still paying at the max.
"People are very open to it," Lawless explained. "They just don't get around to it."
Taking a different approach with another employer that was planning pay increases, Irish Life found that "over half" of workers would be willing to contribute half the pay rise to their pension.
Lawless welcomed Varadkar's comments and the prospect of auto-enrolment.
"Certainly we'd be very keen on anything that helps get people into pensions. I think the key is getting in, starting your pension, and I think if it's done correctly it's a good idea.