Why we need to target technology at the over-45s

Technology has some catching up to do when it comes to pensions, and particularly regarding those coming up to retirement age

Why we need to target technology at the over-45s
The pensions sector needs to improve its aim. Image: Getty

The latest Real Retirement report from Aviva tracks customer attitudes to their finances as they approach and progress through retirement as it has done since 2010 – but with a particular focus on how those with access to the internet have been impacted by the advances in digital technology.

The results can help HR professionals to tailor communication around financial education, and benefits in general, to the over-45s.

Overall, it’s clear that the stereotype of older generations struggling to get to grips with technology isn’t accurate. A clear majority of over-45s define themselves as adopters of new technology and only a minority express a reluctance to do so. 

Online but not on board with digital pensions

However, while the over-45s are tech savvy and feel that technology has had a positive impact on their day-to-day financial planning, it has made little impact when it comes to retirement finances. Just 31% of the 45-64 age group currently manage their pensions online, despite being committed users of technology across other areas of financial management. While the advent of the government’s pensions dashboard initiative could encourage a change here, it may be worth thinking about how to engage this group in the meantime.

There’s a better feeling of control online

Not only are those approaching retirement less likely to feel their retirement finances have been impacted by technology, they’re also significantly less likely to feel in control of their pensions than other areas of their finances. From Aviva’s analysis of the data, it’s clear that the aspects of finances that people generally feel more in control of are also those that are more often managed online.

Not everyone is glued to their smartphone

45-64s tend to access the internet on their laptop or PC (78 per cent of respondents said they do this), and only nine per cent are most likely to use their smartphone. It seems over-45s prefer to access the internet at home or in the office, rather than on the go – so don’t ditch your desktop formats just yet…

It’s worth using social media, but not exclusively

Just over a quarter (26%) of 45-64 year-olds are using social media and messaging apps several times a day, dropping to just under a fifth (19%) of 65-74 year-olds Half of 45-64 year-olds check social media at least once a day, and the wider picture is that one in four older people are now using social platforms. While this is growing, HR professionals need to bear in mind that social messaging will not reach all employees in this age group.

Over-45s prefer face-to-face and email contact

Despite being internet users, almost half of 45-64 year-old respondents said their preference is to deal directly with a person, either face to face or on the phone, when communicating about their finances. The second most preferred method is sending an email or filling in an online form.  Safety (51%) and convenience (85%) were cited as key advantages.

Expert view

The research findings support Aviva’s view that when it comes to technological innovation, the pensions sector is way behind the power curve. “Technology is being used by many people to give them a greater sense of control over their finances. Pensions, however, are at the back of this pack,” observes Alistair McQueen, Savings and Retirement Manager, Aviva. “Worryingly, few feel in control of their pensions and it’s unlikely to be a coincidence that only a small minority are managing their policies online. We must take advantage of all that technology can offer, to help more people to save.”

>> Aviva’s corporate members have access to the online retirement planning tool Shape my Future

See the Real Retirement Report in full:


Saturday 19 August 2017
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