Why would you ever invest in a pension?

January 30, 2019

To be fair, if your only source of financial advice was the front page of the Daily Express you’d be forgiven for never ever touching a pension.

Some well meaning souls noticed that the front page of the Daily Express overwhelmingly features pensions scare stories, often repeating exactly the same headlines, as the following table shows:

To monitor the above, they created the interesting ExpressPensionIndex tracking how the Daily Express front pages see the world when it comes to pensions.

This ExpressPensionIndex isn’t to be confused with any traditional index tracking actual pension performance and is really just for information as it simply measures whether any front page Daily Express pension stories have been positive or negative. If there’s a positive front page pensions story then the index goes up one, and if there’s a negative story it goes down one.

Pensions joy or pensions misery for millions?

The Daily Express’s Personal Finance section has a much more balanced approach, and has featured our director Scott Gallacher’s comments. Unfortunately bad news sells, and since the 1st January 2010, the Daily Express has published over 50 more negative front page stories than positive stories.

If you’d been basing your financial decisions on the ExpressPensionIndex you’d be convinced that the average pension must have lost money since 2010. But the reality is that the average pension fund (taken as being in the ABI Mixed Investment 40-85% Shares sector) has actually returned a little over 70% since the beginning of 2010 (see chart below).

We’d point out that past performance is no indication of future returns, pensions carry the risk of capital loss, and you may get back less than invested.

In addition to overall positive returns since the start of 2010 pensions also offer significant tax advantages compared to many other types of investment.

I think it’s clear that we don’t think the ExpressPensionIndex is the best indicator of how well pensions have done for the vast majority of savers. And you probably shouldn’t be basing your financial decisions on the basis of pension stories that appear on the front page of the Daily Express, or any other newspaper for that matter.

We’d suggest you’re best to ignore the bad news headlines and contact us instead for professional and unbiased financial advice on your retirement planning.