Our money can change everything.
Pension providers should be using their power – the power given to them through our savings – to demand companies take action on global challenges like climate change. But right now, our pension savings are fuelling poverty, inequality and climate chaos. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Choose a pension that suits you
For many, there are already steps you can take to choose a different pension and move your money into providers and funds that align with your values.
When you are first enrolled in a pension by your employer, you will have been put in a ‘default’ fund. But there are often alternative funds on offer – including an ethical option. If other options are more to your liking, you can choose to switch. The easiest way to switch is to log-in to your online pension account. If you’ve not logged into this before and you don't have your details, you can ask your pension fund or your employer. Sometimes switching is simple, but for others you might need to do some digging.
Don’t forget that there are other factors at play when you switch funds, such as cost and risk and you should make sure you feel comfortable with these. Our friends at Good With Money have written a Good Guide to Pensions, which is a handy starting point. While your pension pot is your money, it is your employer that holds the keys, and in some cases the option to switch may not be available to you. In this case you might need to start a conversation about this in your workplace. We've got some great tips for doing this below.
If you are self employed then you have the power and responsibility to set up a pension for yourself. And don't forget if you have pension pots from past jobs you can usually transfer these to another fund. Your current fund should accept these transfers. You should be able to find out how to do this by logging into your online pension account with them. Alternatively, give them a call.
Start a conversation in your workspace
While it’s your savings that go into your pension, it's your employer who is your pension provider’s customer. They hold the keys. The pension provider takes your savings and puts them into funds – basically pools of people’s money which are then invested. Lots of people have the choice of at least 2 funds to go into:
- a ‘default’ fund which you automatically get put into, and
- an ‘ethical' fund which you have to choose to go into.
If you are unhappy with the fund options that are available to you, then the first step is to start a conversation about your pension in your workplace.
You have two options:
1) Ask to change your pension provider, or the fund available to you
If it turns out the fund options you have aren’t good enough, you can ask your employer to make a change. First, find out if your employer decides which funds are available to you.
- If your employer doesn’t have a say on which funds are available to you, then they would need to change to a different pension provider for you to have different fund options.
- If your employer does help decide which funds are available to you, they can look at the fund options the pension provider has given them and make a different selection.
- If there are no fund choices available to you, you can simply ask that your pension’s impact on the world around us is considered by decision-makers. Your employer should carry out a review of their pension provision at some point in the future. Find out when the last one was and give them a nudge to ask when the next one will be. See if you can get them to commit to reviewing the impact of pensions on the world around us then.
2) Ask your employer to contact the pension provider and tell them they want your money to do good
It’s rare for pension providers to hear from our employers that we want our money to be doing good. If they aren’t hearing it, they don’t think their customers want it. If employers ask this simple question, pension providers may start to realise.
We're now invested in the stuff that suits the things we are interested in and care about. I have a really nice, sustainable pension now that I know is making my money grow but also doing good stuff for people and the planet at the same time.
Do you have more questions about using your pension power?