According to a 2011 survey by ‘The Job Crowd’ the pensions industry has the most fun people to work with.

The ‘fun’ nature of the pensions industry should not be confused with the serious duty of the work we do. Saving for retirement, be it through a pension or other means, is vital for anybody wishing to finance their later years. Yet the industry appears to be lagging in passing this message on to younger generations.

Here are a few recent examples of industry folk talking about Gen Y:

    – Simon Kew, aka @PensionsJackal, wrote that pensions’ education “should not start when employees begin their first job.” (article)

    – Katie Morley, aka @PensionsMorley, produced a “manifesto for youth savings” (article)

    – Sophie Robson of CSFI has released a report on Gen Y’s attitudes to finance (report)

With the education of Gen Y in mind, we asked our summer interns to produce an essay on a young person’s attitude to pensions and what the industry could do to help them retire happy. It turns out that Gen Y can also educate the industry about how and when to engage them!

Here’s the first essay written by Natascha Maximchuk, a final year student at Oxford Brookes University:

The Importance of Saving

In order to have a decent quality of life I know that I need money now. I also know that to have a decent quality of life after I retire, I will need a lot of money later. It is certain that I will be forced to make some uncomfortable money management decisions to get to where I want to be in 40 years’ time.

From a young person’s perspective, all I wanted to do when I was 18 was spend my money and live in the moment. Even now at 20, my way of doing things is appearing more and more unrealistic. I cannot afford to be careless with money anymore.

Before my internship at Redington, I knew absolutely nothing about pensions, just like many young people. Now I know that it is even more vital that I start making smart decisions when it comes to managing my money. It shocked me to learn how much I would need to save for my retirement. At this time, saving for a pension sounds smart however I have student debt which needs to be paid. I think it will be difficult to do both. The average age a person moves out of their parents’ house is now close to 30. Saving money to pay rent is more attractive to me than saving for my pension right now. Things are looking rather bleak. It has made me realise that without my parents’ savings I would not have been able to do many of the things that I have already accomplished.

My generation is not well educated when it comes to pension funds or money management. I vaguely remember doing a couple of “Life Management” exercises in year 6 and year 7. Cutting out pictures and colouring them in was fun but the point is, I don’t remember anything. More effort needs to be made in secondary school and in Universities to raise awareness about pension savings and money management.

Perhaps compulsory “Money Management” exercises could be held during PSHE. Starting to encourage people to save or just make them aware of what is to come should start around year 10 and continue throughout their time at the school. This gives students a better chance of remembering what they learnt and to appreciate money more.

I think that people need to see things in action not just read or be lectured about them. Maybe schools should encourage students to put £2 a week away during the term. I am sure that at the end of the year each child will be happy to see the large sum they have saved by themselves. The fact that they will be able to spend it however they like is positive reinforcement and will encourage them to start saving again.

My parents are the ones who really taught me that saving is important. Even though I hated it at the time and didn’t fully understand what was going on, I was forced to put money into my bank account and I was not allowed to touch it for years. I can tell you now that I was ridiculously happy they made me do it, I went off to university with a decent amount of savings that I could spend.

Things take time but they do pay off. The sooner I can start saving my money, the better off I will be.