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Pensions jargon could prevent millions from saving for retirement finds NEST/YouGov

Millions of employees are set to start saving for their retirement with pensions auto enrolment coming into effect in October, but research by the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) and YouGov shows only 6% think pensions are ‘straightforward’.

The survey of employees found 4% believe pensions to be 'easy to understand', 3% classed pensions as 'simple', 5% said they were 'interesting' and 2% went as far as to say pensions were 'engaging'.

Only one in seven respondents (15 per cent) finds the language used to describe pensions straightforward and easy to understand and only one in 14 (7 per cent) thinks information from pension providers is better quality than other types of financial information they have seen.

The words people more strongly associate with pensions are 'confusing', 'complicated' 'boring', 'difficult' and 'off-putting'.

Just under half of the people surveyed find pensions confusing (48%) while slightly more believe them to be and complicated (51%).

A third of respondents (29%) are put off thinking about saving for retirement because they find pensions confusing and 57% agree that 'sometimes pensions seem so complicated I cannot really understand the best options available'.

In response NEST has launched a new version of its jargon-busting phrasebook.

NEST chief executive Tim Jones, said: "Pension jargon could be damaging people's chances of building a better income in retirement. As millions of people are due to start saving for their retirement for the first time through automatic enrolment, NEST's research shows that getting the language right is a challenge all pension providers will need to tackle.

"The latest version of NEST's phrasebook includes new jargon-busting terms we've tested with our likely members and their employers to help make pensions easier to understand. We're committed to talking about pensions in language that people understand and will continue to share our work in this important area as it develops further."

NEST/YouGov online survey conducted between 3 and 5 January 2012. 1,985 GB adults were interviewed and results are weighted to be representative of the adult population.

Of those interviewed, 245 (weighted) were identified as eligible for automatic enrolment and with no pension savings and therefore in NEST's target group.