The Personal Finance Society (PFS) has offered its backing to the proposals for the 'mid-life MOT' outlined in John Cridland's report on the state pension age published today.
The mid-life MOT, targeted at those aged 50 and above, would allow people to consider their existing financial and lifestyle plans, as well as provide guidance on where to obtain help in the future.
The Cridland report suggested the forthcoming pensions dashboard could be an ideal home for an online mid-life MOT, claiming the service could provide financial guidance with an "incorporated lifestyle diagnostic" also offered through the dashboard.
It continued: "The mid-life MOT can act as a useful trigger to encourage people to take stock. We recognise different people will have different needs, depending on their circumstances. For some, a light-touch approach will be sufficient, through the provision of appropriate information.
"Others may need more personalised and in-depth support - for example if they have complex health needs or if they have a lower skill level - and so may need more support navigating employment opportunities."
According to the report, the government has already led some work in this area - for example, the Learning and Work Institute ran a pilot scheme, funded by the then Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, providing a 'Mid-Life Career Review'.
While it said this was a useful tool, the approach was not holistic enough. Instead, the report concluded, the 'MOT' should be about more than a person's employment prospects and include a view of their whole life - taking into account their financial situation, life expectancy and health.
'Partner the government'
PFS chief executive Keith Richards (pictured) said advisers would be ready to stand by the Government on the proposed service.
"A mid-life MOT will help people plan for their later lives, particularly the vulnerable in our communities," he said. "The financial advice profession stands ready to partner with the government to deliver this service."
Just group communications director Stephen Lowe said the proposal was a concept the group had been pushing for since pensions freedoms gave people added financial responsibility in retirement. "There is a strong case for making these MOTs the default option to encourage high levels of take-up," he added.
Old Mutual Wealth pensions expert Jon Greer was more cautious, however, saying: "The call for people to have access to a mid-life MOT to help plan their later years is an interesting idea but the government will need to ensure it is properly publicised and does not become one of those benefits people remain blissfully unaware of."
The Cridland report also proposed the state pension age should be increased to 68 by 2039, and the triple locked should be scrapped in the next parliament.
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