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10-year strategy to help people make most of their money and pensions launched

By Vicky Shaw, PA Personal Finance Correspondent

A new 10-year strategy to improve the nation’s financial wellbeing has been launched by a Government-backed body.

The UK strategy for financial wellbeing sets goals to be achieved by 2030, including encouraging the nation to build a savings habit, expanding financial education and improving people’s understanding of later life and retirement planning.

It has been launched by the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS), which was set up in 2019 and is sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The new strategy sets five goals to be achieved by 2030. These are:

– For 6.8 million children and young people to be getting a meaningful financial education – an increase of two million from 2019;

– For 16.7 million working age people who are financially squeezed to be saving regularly – an increase of two million;

– For two million fewer people to be often using credit to pay for food or bills. Currently, it is thought that nine million people often use credit to pay for food or essential bills;

– For two million more people to be getting the debt advice they need – up from 1.7 million. Currently only 32% of those who need debt advice access it;

– For 28.6 million people to be understanding enough to plan for their later lives, and during them – an increase of five million.

Over the first half of 2020, the MaPS will work with other sectors to firm up plans to achieve the five goals, with specific plans for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The strategy will also look at factors which can make people particularly susceptible to financial harm, such as mental health conditions.

The Service said poor financial wellbeing has knock-on effects for mental health, physical health and relationships.

It said 11.5 million people have less than £100 in savings to fall back on.

People who enjoy good financial wellbeing tend to be more productive at work, and businesses also benefit from having customers who can afford to keep up with bills and payments, the Service said.

The wider economy also benefits from people being able to invest money for retirement.

Caroline Siarkiewicz, acting chief executive of the Service said: “Financial wellbeing underpins personal health and happiness but it doesn’t happen by chance.

“We’re launching a strategy for entire lifetimes, aiming to expand financial education for children while ensuring everyone is equipped to plan for and enjoy their retirement.”

Sir Hector Sants, chair of the Service said: “The UK strategy for financial wellbeing will only be successful for individuals if it is supported by the right products, regulation, services and corporate culture.

“Achieving the strategy will thus require the support and, in many cases, action by both the private and the public sector.”

Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said: “The Government wants to make it easy for those who need it most to get help to make confident financial choices.”