Irish consumers need money advice, says survey

Consumers in Ireland are clueless about money and pensions and are in dire need of advice about budgeting, pensions, personal finance matters according to a new survey.

The Hibernian survey of almost 1,000 consumers in Ireland has found that 72% of respondents say they need independent and unbiased financial advice and almost 40% of consumers have said they wish someone else would sort out their financial planning.

Hibernian’s survey of almost 1,000 people in Ireland shows that retirement planning is one of the areas where advice is needed most as 42% of respondents have said that planning for retirement is too complicated and 31% have said they do not understand pensions at all.

The Hibernian research also reveals that men know more than women when it comes to pensions.

Some 39% of females say they do not know anything about pensions compared to 24% of male respondents. This statistic is also borne out in Government statistics which show that the levels of pension coverage among women is much lower than it is among men.

One reason for the lack of pensions knowledge is the fact that many people (31%) find pensions and investments boring. The Hibernian research also reveals that women are more bored by pensions than men with 33% of females and 29% of males agreeing that financial services are boring.

Hibernian’s Mark Reilly said: "Pensions may not be very glamorous or exciting but they are urgently important to your future financial security.

"To at least maintain your current standard of living at retirement it is absolutely necessary to invest in a pension and make sure your contributions are sufficient to meet your retirement expectations.

"If not you will have just the state pension of €223.30 per week to live on or the equivalent of about €12,000 per year to cover all living expenses including food, health, light and heat, clothing and more.”

Pension investors are also rewarded with generous tax relief on their pension contributions. This is particularly relevant for self-employed pension savers who must pay and file their tax returns online by November 17 to maximise the tax benefits of investing in a pension.

“This means those who do not contribute to a pension miss out on the significant tax relief on pension contributions. So as boring or unglamorous as pensions may be, they are among the most tax efficient investments out there,” said Reilly.

To help consumers overcome their pensions blind spot, Hibernian Life & Pensions has launched a jargon-free guide to pensions called ‘Pensions Made Simple’ on www.hibernian.ie.

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