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More than a third of people with a pension have stopped paying into it

Charlie Weston

MORE than a third of people with a pension have stopped paying into it.

And large numbers of those who do not have an occupational or private pension say their employer does not offer one.

New figures from the Central Statistics Office show that only six out of 10 workers have some sort of pension to supplement the State’s PRSI pension.

Most of those who have a pension to boost the State pension have one through their job.

Next year the State pension will not be payable until people reach the age of 67.

Most of those who do not have a private or occupational pension expect to rely on the State pension in retirement, according to the CSO’s ‘Pension Coverage 2019’ publication.

Over half of workers with no occupational pension say their employer does not offer one.

A quarter told surveyors they chose not to join their employer’s pension scheme.

A further 15pc of employees without an occupational pension were not eligible to join their employer’s occupational pension scheme.

Almost one third of workers with personal pension coverage had deferred payments for a period.

No reasons were given for this decision, although personal finance experts said affordability is likely to be a key reason.

Questions were posed to workers about why they have no pension.

Just over a third said they have never got around to putting one in place. A similar number said they can’t afford one.

The Government is planning to launch an auto-enrolment pension scheme from 2022, in a bid to dramatically increase pension coverage.

Pension coverage is lowest among younger workers.

Just one in five workers between the ages of 20 and 24 years had a pension, the CSO reported.

The numbers with a pension more than double for those in the 24 to 34 age bracket.

Pension coverage is greatest among workers between the ages of 45 and 54, with seven out of 10 of these having a pension through their job or are members of a private scheme.

The majority of people now have a defined contribution scheme. This is one where the level of pension payment depends on the amount of money put into the plan, and the investment return.

Defined contribution schemes have replaced defined benefit schemes in popularity.

Around a third have a defined benefit schemes.

These schemes are withering away outside the public sector as they are hugely expensive. The pension payment tends to be guaranteed and is based on the length of service and the final salary at retirement.

The survey of households, carried out by the CSO, also found that pension coverage is lower for non-Irish workers than those born here.

Half of the self-employed have a pension, which is below the level for employees.

Reference: www.independent.ie (January 6 2020)

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How big a pension pot do I need to retire comfortably?

But hearing that Enda Kenny is going to be retiring from politics with a pension pot of €3m has made me sit up and wonder just how big of a pot I need to retire comfortably by the age of 68. Granted, he has been in public service a long time and has a DB plan, but still.

Conor, Athy, Co Kildare

Answering a question like ‘how much do I need for retirement?’ requires me to know lots about you, your standard of living, your dependants and your ability to ring-fence assets for later life. In the absence of that knowledge, I suggest you focus on: 1) how much you can set aside each year for your retirement, and 2) the growth of those assets long-term.

For many people in your situation, there are lots of competing demands on finite resources.

As you appear to be playing catch-up, I urge you to take advantage of the generous tax relief of 40pc (if you are paying tax at the higher rate) on your pension contributions (provided your annual contributions are no greater than 25pc of your annual salary).

Saving into a pension is one of the most tax-efficient things you can do.

That might motivate you to up your monthly contributions or add a lump sum.

There are more ways to save for retirement than through a PRSA, but let’s stick with that vehicle for now.

Find out what percentage of growth vs defensive assets (cash and bonds) are in your investment portfolio.

Many Irish investors who should be embracing market volatility shy away from it, and it costs literally thousands of euro over a lifetime.

Let’s assume a monthly contribution of €500, time left to retirement of 20 years, and an accumulated fund to date of €100,000.

Investing with an annualised return of 1pc p.a. leaves a pot at retirement of €255,000. Move along the scale to 4pc and the pot at retirement is €405,000. Embrace growth assets over the long term for a return of 8pc, and the fund is €763,000.

Assuming you have 20 years of living to fund in retirement, a fund of €255,000 will provide you with an income of €12,750 (ignoring inflation, etc), whereas a fund of €763,000 will provide you with over €38,000 every year. Big difference.

And yet we are inclined to focus all our attention on how much we can contribute, ignoring growth potential.

If you pay attention to both those factors, you’ll get a fighting chance of a stress-free life in retirement.

Investment paralysis

Q. I have a large lump sum sitting in a deposit account with a rubbish interest rate and with no sign of rates rising any time soon. So my mates have been on at me to invest in this, that or the other. All of them seem to be in something, but I’m a sceptical person by nature and I think I just love the security of cash in the bank. The last time I invested in anything was Telecom Éireann shares and needless to say, that didn’t work out well. How can I get over this hump?

Paul, Dublin 22

You were burned by a bad experience and you weren’t the only one. Telecom Éireann shares were recommended by the very people who shouldn’t be giving investment advice, including Government ministers.

I don’t blame you for being slow to take your mates’ advice.

You have learned from your mistakes, but your experience is also paralysing you.

Let’s consider first what would happen if you yielded to the warm, fuzzy feeling of cash in the bank.

Say you have €100,000 saved. Over 10 years, at 2pc inflation per annum, you’ll be losing close to €20,000 in real terms over the term.

The rubbish interest rate is not your only niggle when it comes to money on deposit. Even a bad investment strategy is better than leaving cash in the bank.

It’s clear to see that you are in a good position to invest.

The hard work is accumulating the lump sum, and you have already done that. Now comes the easy part – investing it long-term.

This is the bit that you’re finding difficult, partly because of your bad experience with Telecom Éireann, but also because I suspect you do not truly understand risk.

Risk increases where you are unduly exposed to the fortunes of one company (Telecom Éireann or AIB), one country (Ireland), one sector (construction), one asset class (property). In addition, the more complex a proposition is, the more risky it is.

To mitigate risk, I recommend a globally diversified fund which has a broad spread of securities in many sectors, in many asset classes and in many countries.

Look for passive (or hands-off) funds, which mean fees will be lower and, more importantly, transparent.

This is not shares in AIB. This is not a structured product with the potential for capital loss over a term. This is not a kick-out bond. You need something that is open-ended and invested across global markets.

Such funds are now available to Irish investors at very reasonable prices. Consult with a fee-only financial planner on the options available.

Property punt?

Q. I Recently came across a company called Property Bridges, which sells itself as a peer-to-peer investing platform. Like many, I’m attracted to the idea of investments linked to property, but what’s the catch?

Amelia, Caherciveen, Co Kerry

The Irish love affair with investing in property needs to stop. I’ll sum up the problem in one sentence: there are too many fingers in the pie.

Let’s list them: the estate agent, the solicitor, the seller, the buyer, the lender, the ECB, the insurance company, the letting agent, the tenant, the accountant, Government, Revenue, tradesmen and the Residential Tenancies Board.

If there is a breakdown with just one of these parties, your investment becomes too much like hard work.

By investing in Property Bridges, you do not have to deal directly with most of these parties but are still joining the ranks of the property speculators.

The difference is you have no control over what type of property your money is invested in or where.

Property Bridges has two full pages on risks.

To be fair to the people behind the company, they give an honest account of many of the risks associated with the type of investment.

Risk number one: loss of capital. Risk number two: illiquidity. Risk number three: security risk. There are 11 risks listed overall.

Source: independent.ie


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Ethical investing: How to fund your pension while staying true to your values

Would you be happy to sacrifice part of your future financial wellbeing in order to make the world a better place? That is the question asked, ahead of a London conference last month, of users of an app aimed at becoming the TripAdvisor of financial investments.

Almost two-thirds of the mostly millennials who use the Finimize app and responded to the question said they would be happy to accept lower returns tomorrow if it meant the investments they were making today were more socially responsible.

The message of altruism chimes with our times and the attention being focused on the catastrophic impact of climate change and the consequences of global capitalism’s endless determination to squeeze infinite returns from a finite planet.

It would seem that at least some people are now starting to seriously look at their investments to make sure they are not contributing to the problem.

The good news which came from that Finimize event in London in July – according to a piece published by Forbes – is that returns are not automatically reduced by investing sustainably and cutting all companies perceived to have a negative impact might be counter-productive.

“We are less powerful if that is the only way we do impact investing,” the head of sustainable investing at JP Morgan Jennifer Wu told the conference. “If we simply remove companies from our portfolio, we lose our seat at the table and our ability to influence and help them through this transition.”

An investment fund expert Jamie Broderick echoed her view and said people would not “have to sacrifice returns when investing in a socially responsible portfolio. There are several different categories along the spectrum of capital, and you can choose how you’d like to invest in line with your values.”

Chief executive of Finimize Max Rofagha said there was “clear latent demand when it comes to consumers transitioning to ethical and sustainable portfolios. And yet the vast majority of people are not following through on that intent because the offering is not easy to navigate through.”

Slim pickings

Similarly in Ireland, while ethical investing is growing in popularity, when it comes to options for building a pension pot through environmentally, socially or otherwise ethically responsible funds, the pickings are somewhat slim.

There are options available, whether you’re looking to start an ethical pension from scratch, or have been paying into a fund for a number of years and discover you’ve been investing in oil companies, gun manufacturers, for-profit prisons or similar, and you’re not too comfortable with that.

Before we get into that though, a quick look at what ethical investing actually is (it is also referred to as ESG – ethical, sustainable and governance – investing). You may be surprised by the companies considered ethical – it’s not all hemp growers, vegan burger manufacturers and solar-panel makers; tech firms, for example, may be considered ethical if they play by the right rules. The simplest stage in your pension-paying life to ensure your money is going into ethical funds is before you even start

There is no international benchmark for what an ethical fund must look like. It’s down to individual fund managers to make an assessment of each fund, with most using the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a guide; they will assess whether the fund invests in companies that either work directly towards, or donate to projects helping to achieve one of the 17 goals.

The SDGs include such aims as no poverty; zero hunger; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; and climate action.

There is a movement towards standardisation of this assessment process, says Terry Devitt, head of investment at Harvest Financial Services, but it is a few years off yet. Companies can’t game the system though, he adds, so “just ticking a few boxes in terms of investing money into projects related to SDGs doesn’t automatically mean a company will be considered ethical by your fund manager.”

Speak to your HR department, or the person who looks after pensions where you work, and find out about the options available with the provider. If your company is with Friends First, take a look at their Stewardship Ethical Fund; if Standard Life are the provider, the European Ethical Equity Fund is an option to look into; and if your pension is with Irish Life, their Indexed Ethical Global Equity Fund could be suitable.

But if your employer doesn’t use any of these providers, or will not make a contribution if you opt for one of the ethical funds, you may not have any option but to pay into an existing fund.

If you have been paying into a pension for a number of years through your employer and you’d like to find out more about the fund, your HR or line manager will be able to direct you to the provider, who you can then contact directly for the fund details.

If you find out your company’s pension plan isn’t investing in ethical funds, and that’s something that bothers you, there are a few things you can do to address it but it’s not the simplest of processes and it isn’t open to everyone.

If your pension provider is one of the few that has ethical options, you can find out if your employer will allow you to switch funds, and if they’ll continue their contribution. “But not all employers would because it’s messy for them,” says Devitt.

“With some providers though, there are just no ethical options, so if your company happens to be one of those – then your only option is to remain in the company pension scheme.”

But, Devitt says, this option is expensive and really only open to individuals who have large pots to play with. “You’d want to be talking a pension pot in excess of €250,000, generally people who’ve been paying into their pensions for a long time, who decide later in their career that they want to move to self-administered, but once you do that, you can invest in anything then and you’ve a lot of options globally.”

It’s worth noting that the Pensions Authority of Ireland strongly recommends that people – both starting their pension or looking to switch providers – seek independent advice on what is the best option for them given varying risk levels and individual circumstances.

The Irish market is, as Devitt puts it, “somewhat behind the curve” on ethical pension options, but he expects this to change within the next 10 years as consumer demand increases.

So the upshot is – go ethical from the very beginning; go ethical at the end; see if your employer will play ball and let you switch; or wait a few years and see what the market brings.

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Aged 50 or over? Consider your retirement fund options now

If you haven’t yet thought about what to do with your retirement fund, here’s some advice

Source: Fiona Reddin, www.irishtimes.com


If you’re 50 years or over, and haven’t yet started to think about what you’re going to do with your retirement fund when you become a pensioner, it’s time to knuckle down and consider your options.

At present, if you’re currently enrolled in a defined contribution (DC) scheme, your two big options heading into retirement are going to be either an annuity, or an approved retirement fund (ARF). But both are very different, and both require different planning strategies in the years leading up to retirement.

So, if you’re aged 50 or over, it’s time to get planning.

As Trevor Booth, chief executive of Mercer Financial Services, advises, “The more informed you are, the better the quality of the decisions you’re going to make.” And when you consider it’s about ensuring you don’t end up penurious in retirement, the quality of your decision-making is crucial.


Annuity v ARF

In years gone by, pension savers would generally find themselves in a defined benefit (DB), or final salary, scheme, of which an annuity was an essential part. Essentially, your employer guaranteed a set level of retirement income as a proportion of your final working earnings – generally two-thirds, for those with full benefits.

The advantage of annuities is that they offer a guaranteed income until you die, and sometimes even after, with some products offering spousal income. You can also provide for inflation-proofing, at a cost. So there’s no fear of your pension fund bottoming out with an annuity, and this guaranteed income offers peace of mind.

What we’ve been seeing across the board is a move away from annuities to ARFs

However, the problem for many people who are now coming to retirement is that they aren’t coming with the bounty offered by a DB scheme. DB schemes are a vanishing species, at least in the private sector, as the cost of providing them – and accounting for the liability on their books – proved too onerous for companies. DC schemes are now the norm.

In addition, current annuity rates mean that a lifetime of savings can equate to a less-than-expected income in retirement.

“What we’ve been seeing across the board is a move away from annuities to ARFs,” says Cian Hurley, a senior consultant in Willis Towers Watson’s investment practice, because “annuities are quite poor value at the moment”.

Booth agrees, noting that about two in three retirees will now opt for an ARF over an annuity. These with larger pension funds tend to go for an ARF, while those with smaller funds choose an annuity.

Current annuity rates are about 4-5 per cent, depending on your age. For example, a 61-year-old might get a rate of 4.179 per cent with Irish Life; but this rate could increase if you have a history of poor health and qualify for an enhanced annuity.

With such rates, however, Booth notes that someone retiring at 65 will have to wait 23 years, or until they’re 88, to get all their capital back from an annuity. Not only that, but he says that statistics show that a 65-year old has just a one in two chance of getting all their money back by living that long.

If you want to inflation-proof the annuity income or provide for a spouse, the rate on offer would be noticeably lower and the time to recover your capital even longer.

“There will be winners and losers on it [an annuity],” he says.

An ARF, on the other hand, can give you substantially more flexibility. In effect, this brings your pension fund with you into retirement, once you draw down your tax-free lump-sum.


When you die, it can be passed tax-free to your spouse, or to your children – although tax issues will arise for them.

It means that you can continue to grow your capital, as you are still exposed to market movements, although there is a mandatory draw-down, of 4 per cent a year if you are 60 years or over, increasing to 5 per cent at 70, or 6 per cent if you have pension assets of €2 million or more and are over 60 years of age for the full tax year.

But – and it’s quite a big but – ARFs also face the risk of running out of money. Depending on how much is in your ARF, if the return on your ARF after charges fails to match your draw-down rate (ie 4-6 per cent a year), the capital will reduce each year, eventually potentially running out. This can also be hastened if the investments perform poorly.

“What also comes into play is longevity risk,” says Hurley. Should you stay alive for a very long time, it will put more pressure on your funds should you opt for an ARF.


ARF then annuity?

Remember, your decision doesn’t have to be final at retirement. There’s nothing to stop you from going into an ARF at retirement, and then switching to an annuity at a later date. However, according to Booth, “it’s very rare that we see this.” Rather, “people feel intuitively that one route or another works best for them.”

And there may be a reason why. Due to “mortality drag”, someone aged 75 might be expected to live longer than the 88 years that was predicted when they were 65; and this means they will get a lower annuity rate at 75 than they might have expected.

For this approach to make sense, Booth says that you’ll need to either:

  1. a) generate a return on your ARF, or;
  2. b) hope that annuity costs will fall and you get a higher rate.

At the moment, there is no hybrid product between the two, but “perhaps that’s something we need to look at”, says Hurley.



The tax question

Whether you opt for an ARF or an annuity might also be a factor of how much of a tax-free lump sum you can get. Under current rules, if you opt for an ARF, you can immediately draw down 25 per cent of your pension fund tax-free. If you opt for an annuity, however, your maximum lump sum will be 1.5 times your final salary.

So, if you retire with a pension fund worth €450,000, you will be able to draw down €112,500 tax-free with an ARF. If you were on a final salary of €100,000, you will be able to get €150,000 tax-free if you opt for an annuity, although it should be noted that the rules on 1.5 times salary are a bit more complicated than this, and not everyone may get the full amount.

So this is also an important consideration.

“Generally, if the retirement fund is small, 1.5 times your earnings is likely to be more attractive, and you’ll buy an annuity with the remainder,” says Shane O’Farrell, head of products, Irish Life Corporate Business.

But more flexibility is still called for. Booth and others in the industry would like to see the rules loosened on this, so that people opting for the 1.5-times salary option are also given the option to buy an ARF.


Lifestyling shift

Another reason why it is important to start thinking about these issues many years from retirement is that your DC fund manager will likely be positioning you towards a certain outcome if you are in a default fund – which is where the vast majority of people are likely to be.

The goal of lifestyling is to make sure that members are in the right type of fund at the right time – for instance to avoid a situation where someone with a year to retirement is not 100 per cent invested in equities and therefore extremely exposed to a potential drop in markets.

The benefit of a lifestyling strategy is that it “takes out having to make active decisions about when and where to invest your assets”, says Hurley. It is aimed typically at members in a scheme who opt for the default option.

However, you need to make sure it matches your end goal. For example, there’s no point in switching your portfolio to bonds – which will match an annuity – if you want to stay invested in an ARF at retirement.

Given the shift in preference to ARFs, fund managers have started to adapt their lifestyling strategies in recent years.

Pension savers in New Ireland’s Individual Retirement Investment Strategy, for example, used to transition portfolios to 75 per cent in “long bonds” and 25 per cent in cash at retirement. Now, however, aware of the preferences for ARFs, savers will end up with 75 per cent in low- to medium-risk assets at retirement, and 25 per cent cash.

Similarly, Irish Life has moved to adapt its lifestyling approach. O’Farrell explains that funds will now have longer to grow, as the de-risking phase has been cut from 20 years to 11 years before retirement. This reflects the use of a multi-asset range of funds which it now offers pension savers, that have lower volatility and greater diversification than the equity heavy pension funds of old.

In the last six years before retirement, Irish Life will assess your most likely benefit route at retirement and place you in either an annuity targeting fund (where the multiple of salary route gives the highest tax-free lump sum) or into an ARF targeting fund (where 25 per cent of the retirement savings will give the highest tax-free lump sum).

If you want to retire early, at 60, then your lifestyle strategy may have more risk than it should

“Of course, people can also make their own active decision and select another investment option, but very few do,” says O’Farrell. But for some people, making their own decisions, rather than the default one, will be crucial.

“What’s suitable for majority may not be suitable for you,” says Booth, while Hurley adds that lifestyling can be a “pretty blunt instrument by its very nature, because it doesn’t really take into account members’ unique circumstances”.

“Where they don’t work, is where people want to retire early, and want to take more risk or less risk,” he says, adding, “if you want to retire early, at 60, then your lifestyle strategy may have more risk than it should.”


When to decide?

For Hurley, you should be meeting your pensions adviser about 10 years out from your proposed retirement date to discuss how you expect you’ll take your benefits in retirement.

Booth agrees, adding that factors to think about include understanding what average life expectancy is , how long will it take to get the capital back, and what your current health state is.

And when it comes to picking a product, do shop around. Remember, you have the right to purchase an annuity or ARF from any provider – not just your current pension provider.


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Funky Shirt Friday!

Staff at IPF raised money for the Peter McVerry Trust on Friday by holding Funky Shirt Friday in our offices!

Many thanks to everyone who contributed!


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Minister confirms payment rise for 23,000 pensioners who took career break to look after loved ones

More than 23,000 pensioners who had their pensions reduced after taking a career break to care for loved ones have had their retirement payments increased, the Irish Examiner can reveal.

Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty has confirmed that since the controversy erupted in the wake of the Budget 2018 a major review has been undertaken with over 90,000 cases examined.

Ms Doherty has said that her department has examined the social insurance records of approximately 90,000 pensioners, born on or after 1 September 1946, who had a reduced rate State pension contributory entitlement based on post Budget 2012 rate-bands.

The minister said these payments are being reviewed under a new Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to pension calculation which includes provision for home caring periods.

Ms Doherty has confirmed that, as of last week, 47,755 reviews – which is over half of all pensioners identified for review – have been completed.

Of these, 23,523 pensioners received an increase in their rate of weekly rate of pension and 24,232 are remaining on their existing rate of payment, she said.

Based on a sample analysis of some of the increases awarded, the best estimate at this stage is that 13% of those who received an increase received a weekly increase of €30 or more; 36% received a weekly increase of between €20 and €30; 7% received an increase of between €10 and €20; with the highest proportion, 44%, receiving an increase of up to €10 per week.

“Importantly, most of those who received less than €10 following their review achieved maximum personal contributory pension rate, which cannot be further improved upon,” Ms Doherty said.

The Irish Examiner has learnt that reviews commenced from 13 February 2019, the day after she signed the necessary Regulations which, together with provisions in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registrations Act 2018, allows the increased payments to be made.

Regardless of when a review is conducted, where an increase in payment is due, the person’s rate of payment is adjusted without delay and arrears paid, backdated to 30 March 2018 or the person’s 66th birthday if later, the minister confirmed.

Where a person’s rate does not increase following review, the person will continue to receive their existing rate of payment.

Regina Doherty

The Government will have to find €55m next year to cover the cost of fixing the 2012 pensions anomaly relating to carers who took time out of their careers.

On foot of the controversy, the Government decided to allow State pension (contributory) recipients affected by the 2012 changes in rate bands to have their pensions entitlement calculated on a total contributions approach basis.

The changes included a provision for up to 20 years of a new “HomeCaring credit”. This would benefit people whose work history includes an extended period of time outside the paid workforce, raising families, or in a full-time caring role.

According to the report, reviews will commence in the final quarter of this year, with the first payments being made in the first quarter of 2019. It is estimated the full-year cost will be in the region of €35m.

“Backdating to March 2018 will cost an estimated €20m, resulting in a 2019 cost estimated at some €55m. This is not currently included in the [department’s] 2019 ceiling,” the report said.

by Daniel McConnell

Political Editor

Reference: www.irishexaminer.com

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Everything you need to know about health & life insurance: Part 1

Many people seem to distrust both life insurance and the people who sell it. Why should this be? I’m sure it is partly because no one likes to think about anything bad happening to them, and partly because – in order to draw attention to a very real need – life insurance salespeople are forced to bring up uncomfortable subjects with their prospective clients.

However, although it is not something you may rush to tackle, making certain that you have adequate life – and health – insurance will bring you genuine peace of mind.

First-class medical protection, critical or serious illness cover and life insurance are available at a remarkably low price providing you know how to buy it but you must:

  •  Make sure you are not sold protection you don’t need
  •  Decide what cover is sensible for you to take out
  •  Find out who you can trust to advise you
  •  Make sure you get your cover at the lowest possible price

You know you should…
It isn’t pleasant to dwell on being ill, having an accident or – worst of all – dying. Nevertheless, you owe it to yourself – and those you care for – to spend a little time making sure you are protected should the worst happen. This means being:

  • protected by income protection, also called PHI (permanent health insurance) if you are too unwell to earn an income
  • protected by private medical insurance if you need medical attention
  • protected by life cover if you, or your partner, should die.

There are, of course, plenty of facts and figures available proving just how likely it is for someone of any age to fall ill or die. Sadly, such statistics are borne out by everyone’s personal experience. The truth is we all know of instances where families have had to face poor medical care and/or financial hardship as the result of a tragedy. We all know, too, that spending the small sum required to purchase appropriate cover makes sound sense.

Spend time, not money
The secret is to identify exactly what cover you really need and not to get sold an inappropriate or overpriced policy. It is also important to review your needs on a regular basis. What you require today, and what you’ll require in even two or three years’ time could alter dramatically.

The best way to start is by considering what risks you face and deciding what action you should take. Here are three questions that everyone should ask themselves, regardless of their age, gender, health or financial circumstances.

Question 1: What would your financial position be if you were unable to work – due to an accident or illness – for more than a short period of time?

Obviously, your employer and the state will both be obliged to help you out. However, if you have a mortgage, other debts and/or a family to support your legal entitlements are unlikely to meet anything like your normal monthly outgoings. If you do have a family then your spouse will have to balance work, caring for you and – possibly – caring for children. Is this feasible or – more to the point – desirable? How long will your savings last you under these circumstances? Do you have other assets you could sell?

Unless you have substantial savings and/or low outgoings then income protection cover and/or critical/serious illness insurance could both make sound sense.

Question 2: Do you have anyone dependent on you for either financial support or care? Are you dependent on someone else financially? Do you have children – or other family members – who would have to be cared for if you were to die?

If you are single and don’t have any dependents then the reason to take out life insurance is in order to settle any debts and/or leave a bequest. If, on the other hand, there is someone depending on you – either for money or for care – then life cover has to be a priority.
If you are supporting anyone (or if your financial contribution is necessary to the running of your household) then you need to take out cover so that you don’t leave those you love facing a financial crisis.
If you are caring for anyone – children, perhaps, or an ageing relative – then you should take out cover so that there is plenty of money for someone else to take over this role.

Question 3: Does it matter to you how quickly you receive non-urgent medical treatment? If you need medical care would you rather choose who looks after you, where you are treated and in what circumstances? How important is a private room in hospital to you?

We are fortunate enough to enjoy free basic health care in Ireland. However, if you are self-employed or if you have responsibilities which mean that it is important for you to be able to choose the time and place of any medical treatment, then you should consider private medical insurance.

Reference: www.rte.ie

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Less than half of all employees have a private pension – CSO

Less than 20% of young people were contributing to a pension, compared to more than 70% of those aged 45-54

Less than half of all employees in Ireland were saving towards a pension last year, according to the Central Statistics Office.

Its survey of pension coverage in the third quarter of 2018 found that 47.1% of all people in employment were contributing towards a private pension.

That is up 0.4 percentage points on the same period of 2015.

When pension coverage from previous employments, as well as deferred pensions and pensions in draw-down mode, are included the ratio of those covered rose to 56.3%.

The CSO found that just 16.3% of people aged 20-24 were contributing to a pension, compared to almost 71% of workers aged 45-54.

Meanwhile the data shows that more than half of all self-employed people had pension coverage.

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions said the figures highlighted the need for pension auto-enrolment as part of a wider reform of the system in Ireland.

“Tax relief has failed as a policy instrument for encouraging low and middle-income earners to save enough towards a financially secure retirement, and there is no legal obligation on an employer to provide or contribute to a pension scheme for employees,” said ICTU’s social policy officer Dr Laura Bambrick.

“As the State pension is paid at a flat-rate, rather than earnings-related, workers without retirement savings are exposed to a significant drop in their living standards in old age.”

Reference: www.rte.ie

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4th Annual Football Tournament in aid of St Michael’s House

IPF’s 4th Annual Football Tournament in aid of St Michael’s House took place on Friday 29th March 2019.

Many thanks to all who took park; New Ireland Assurance, Zurich, Aviva, Irish Life, and the winners on the day, Goodbody!

Well done to all involved!