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Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Friday, 10 April 2009 15:57 UK

Have Your Say: The future of pensions


It has not been a good year for pensions.

The plunging stock market has wiped more than £161bn off the pension pots of millions of people who followed government advice to save for retirement.

And many companies are closing down or restricting their own schemes which used to offer the best guarantees for a decent pension in retirement.

Do you think it is a good idea to pay into a company pensions scheme?

How confident are you that your pension will provide you with a comfortable retirement?

Do you trust your company to make sure your pension is adequate?

Send us your comments using the form below.

It has always been politically preferable to keep people believing a small amount of saving would provide future financial security along with the freedom to spend their excess cash now - in other words to have it all! The reality is, although no politician would admit it, that you will only get out what you put in. If you want future financial security there is no magic wand and you must save much much more or invest in alternatives like rental property and shares while they are cheap etc. The public will wake up to this over the next 20 years and today's reassuring politicians will be comfortably retired. There is no longer a magic wand - if I ran a huge company the final salary scheme would be first to go.
Paul Holmes, Newcastle

I don't see why employers have anything to do with people's provision for income in retirement. I don't expect my employer to provide me with a mortgage or life assurance, so why a pension? I'm lucky enough to benefit from a final salary pension but that doesn't make me think it's the right way for things to be organised. I'd prefer to see everyone being in charge of their own pension arrangements, with truly independent advice being easily available, perhaps paid for by the state. Additional contributions to the state pension should be the default option for those who cannot cope with anything more complicated.
Nicholas Pye-Smith, Sheffield

Pension schemes are a confidence trick played on working people by the rich and powerful. My "fund" is less than half what it was 18 months ago, and the annuity I will be forced to buy with it yields pathetic returns. My advice to my children is first to pay off debt, second to buy their own home and after that to buy assets they understand, which don't need to be explained by financial "professionals", whose "advice" has only ever cost me money. It's all nonsense. Even holding cash is meaningless when governments print money as an equivalent of taxation.
Sleepy, Exeter

I believe many companies providing final salary pension schemes took pension holidays (ie. did not contribute) during the 1980s and 90s as pension funds were seen as sufficiently funded (by employees) to cover the fund liabilities. Now that stock markets are down they still don't want to contribute and consider them a liability to do away with. It would be interesting to examine large company pension funds, say from 1980 onwards to see exactly how much was contributed annually by employers and employees.
Tom Gallagher

In my opinion you should join the company pension scheme. Get the benefit of the company's contributions as well as your own - whether salary related (high company contributions) or money purchase (sometimes low, but every little helps).

You should always save as much as you can into a pension. Whatever it delivers, every little helps. You cannot see the future and state pensions are subject to massive political risk. My pension will be as comfortable as possible.

If you have a salary related pension, you are dependent on your employer to run the scheme properly so make sure you see the rules, the actuarial report and the accounts and that you know who the trustees are. Question them often. If you have a money-purchase pension, get financial advice every three years to check on the right investments and how they are doing.
Roland Baker

Surely if final salary pension schemes suffer during economic downturns then they have done exceptionally well during boom times! I seem to remember my pension provider and many others taking "holidays" from investing in their pension pots some years ago on the grounds that the funds were overfunded. Surely this was a rather unethical decision?
Jacqui Davis

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The comments we publish are not necessarily the views of the BBC but will reflect the balance of views we have received. It is helpful if contributors state if they work for any organisation relevant to an issue discussed. Readers should form their own views on whether messages published represent undeclared interests, or views prompted by a common source.

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