In order to enhance low levels of pension engagement, it is relevant to analyse individual’s behaviour with respect to retirement planning. An increased relevance of retirement planning accompanying life events can potentially create an opportunity to improve pension engagement. However, the relationship between life events and pension engagement has not been empirically tested yet. After reviewing existing literature on potential influential life events key life events which will form the basis of this study are identified: marriage, divorce, childbirth, the loss of a spouse, unemployment, and disability. In order to explore the effects of these life events on participants’ pension intentions, attitudes, and behaviour, a unique data set (n=2155) provided by the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), a UK based DC pension scheme, is used for analysis. This analysis reveals promising results for the existence of a link between life events and participants’ pension intentions, attitudes, and behaviour. Suggesting that besides having an impact on one’s subjective well-being, job satisfaction, and health, life events are relevant for retirement planning as well. All life events have a positive influence on at least one of the employed pension measures. The current study contributes to the line of research attempting to enhance the pension involvement of pension plan participants, by adding life events as another potential solution. The findings of this study have important implications for developing an effective communication strategy for pension providers, which should be based on life events. When life events are identified, pension providers can deliver a personalized message to the participants adapted to life events. Additionally, they should aim to encourage participants to pre-commit to receive additional information or take action and react quickly to a life event. All this together should amplify the positive effect life events have on pension involvement.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is een denktank en kennisnetwerk. Netspar is gericht op een goed geïnformeerd pensioendebat.

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