Nikki Bond, Interim Head of Research and Policy, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute
The pensions maze
Achieving better retirements for people with mental health problems
This research highlights that millions of individuals with mental health issues face potential challenges in retirement, in part due to the lack of information and support they receive to plan and save for retirement.
It shows that poor mental health can lead to reduced pension savings due to extended periods of unemployment, lower-paying jobs, or early retirement.
It also highlights the difficulty people with mental health problems encounter in accessing information and guidance about their retirement options. Many individuals feel that these services are not tailored to their needs, leaving them struggling to comprehend their choices.
The report also warns that people are often making critical decisions on their pensions savings while acutely unwell, and without the right support from services – potentially exposing them to financial harm.
This report makes recommendations on how pension providers, regulators and government to ensure people with mental health problems reach retirement in the best possible position.
- The Money and Pensions Service should act to better support people with mental health problems to navigate and make informed decision about retirement. This includes providing a specialist arms of the pensions guidance service for people with severe mental illness, training staff to know how to better support people, and ensuring that all information and guidance is delivered in a way that is accessible to people with mental health problems.
- Pension providers should improve the design and advertisement of pensions information, to make it more inclusive for people with mental health problems. They should also take measures to better support people whose capacity to make decisions may fluctuate.
- The government should improve support for people with mental health problems to build savings, for example through more targeting advertising of the Help to Save scheme and developing clearer communications about saving limits for people receiving benefits.