Simon Read: It's time to take time and save thousands

Mentioning the "P" word in public is usually reason enough for people to turn away, switch off or tune out. But please, do yourself a favour and read on as what I'm about to tell you could make an awful lot of difference to your financial future.

If you're into saving money – and who isn't? – then this is aimed at you. But it's much better advice than you'll find from any of the so-called money experts who spout about saving pounds on your gas bills or bank charges. I'm talking about your pension – there I've said it. No, please don't go, leave now and you could lose out on thousands.

I assume you want to be thousands, or tens of thousands, of pounds better off? Good. The key is to start thinking differently about your pension. Approach your retirement planning in the same way you think about your savings, utilities, insurance, mobile phone contract or broadband arrangements and you will almost certainly end up better off when you retire. I'll go further than that. Taking a little bit of time once a year or so to check your pension scheme and how well it is performing could mean the difference between having a comfortable retirement and struggling to survive your golden years.

I'm prompted to pass on this crucial advice by a shocking survey being published today by the Prudential. The company's research reveals that nearly a third of Britain's 8.8m active occupational pension scheme members pay no attention to how their retirement savings are invested, while 29 per cent – more than 2.5 million scheme members – have never reviewed how their chosen pension fund is performing. Even more alarming is the fact that almost half of workers aged 25-plus have their money invested in the "default" fund of their company pension scheme.

That inertia means millions run the risk of losing tens of thousands from the value of their pension pot. It's shocking that those same millions are happy to spend time to reduce their mobile phone bill by a few pounds, or scour the internet to cut a little off their gas or electricity charges. But when it comes to potentially losing out on comparatively huge sums, which could massively affect their lifestyle for decades in retirement, they choose to do nothing.

Making investment decisions about a pension fund is not a simple issue and there are lots of factors to consider. For that reason choosing the '"default" fund of a firm's pension scheme is an easy option, but it can be a financially disastrous one. That is especially true in a period of market turmoil when an investment decision taken as recently as six months ago may need to be completely reversed or, at the very least, re-examined. The decision to do something about this is in your own hands.

Taking action now to ensure your pension pot is on track could be essential. It may be that your money should be invested in different funds, or that you need to make additional voluntary contributions. If you can't decide about these factors for yourself then talk to an independent financial adviser who can help guide you through your options. You'll find details of specialist advisers at

Independent Partners: 10 top tips for retirement. Get your free guide here

Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

    Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

    Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

    Christine McCleave: FP&A Analyst

    £36,000 - £40,000: Christine McCleave: Are you looking for a new opportunity a...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

    £15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Day In a Page

    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
    Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

    What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

    Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
    The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

    Setting in motion the Internet of Things

    British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
    Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

    Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

    Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
    Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

    Cult competition The Moth goes global

    The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
    Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

    Pakistani women come out fighting

    Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
    Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

    Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

    The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
    LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

    Education: LGBT History Month

    Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
    11 best gel eyeliners

    Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

    Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

    The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

    Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

    After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot