Great British Bake-Off inspired research has found that the British public find it easier to bake a cake without a recipe than check their retirement income's on track. Just over a fifth (21%) of women would rather bake blind compared to just a fraction (7%) who are comfortable checking their pension balance, according to Friends Life.
Dale Critchley at Friends Life said: "Baking without a recipe is difficult unless you've memorised every step or you're willing to take the chance to bake blind. However, checking and managing your pension should not feel harder than this. Online tools make keeping an eye on your pension a painless task. To demonstrate how simple it is we have come up with a pensions recipe to help savers through every step."
Dale's 7-step recipe for pension success:
Decide how big you want your (pension) cake to be – it will depend how much you are going to need to live off and what ingredients you have available.
Check what 'ingredients' you have available - your employer may contribute.The basic 'pension' mix includes contributions (yours and your employers), tax relief and the raising agent – the potential return you get based on your 'investment' choices.
Combine the ingredients, and keep a close eye on your how things are progressing over time.
If things don't look as though they are going to plan top up with extra ingredients – feed the mix more contributions or change the investment mix to try and help it 'rise'.
It's difficult to over bake a pension so generally the longer the better, but if you only have a short amount of time you may have to temper your ambitions re size.
Note re cooking time: While it's important to keep an eye on your pension you can over work it, it's a long-term investment and you have to accept it won't always be a smooth journey.
This depends on how long you've got, in the early days (years of saving), high temperature (riskier investment types) could result in higher growth – but as time goes on you may want to turn the temperature down (start lifestyling, de-risking your pension) to stop your cake getting burnt – be careful though, turning down to soon could mean you get less volume.
You will find your cake automatically comes out with icing on the top, leaving your pension cake with a ratio of a tasty topping of 25% tax-free cash and a sustaining 75% which is taxable.
There's more great advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.