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Pensions need radical overhaul to make them more accessible, say Saga

The director-general of Saga, Dr Ros Altmann, has called for pension schemes to be revamped in a bid to make the policies more accessible and less "frightening”.

Dr Altmann has argued that pension policies are surrounded by jargon that is "alien" for many people, and that consumers associate the word “pension” with either disappointments, scandal or something that is only relevant to older people.

She said: "I would like to find a new word for pension - lifetime savings or retirement savings - something that does not have negative connotations.”

Dr Altmann also argued that pensions need to offer more flexibility to make them more attractive to savers, and to remedy the fact that many are only left with the "stark choice" between not taking out a pension or locking their money away into pension plans for a number of years.

"It's such a stark choice, either you put your money away for decades or you have no pension," she said.

"If we made it less frightening and more exciting and attractive in some way then I think we can help more people to feel more positive about saving for the future, rather than stumbling into later life."

Recent research from Baring Asset Management (Barings) revealed that 44% of retirees will not be relying solely on their pension to see them safely through retirement, with other assets and investments also providing a safety net for their twilight years.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) also highlighted that the number of people subscribing to a workplace pension had fallen below half for the first time in at least 15 years.

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