Hitting The Target: A Vision for Retirement Income

Hitting The Target: A Vision for Retirement Income Adequacy

The Hitting the Target project was set up by the PLSA in early 2017. The purpose was to assess the success of current UK policy and practices with regard to helping everyone achieve adequate outcomes in retirement, taking account of the range of assets which might be used to finance retirement, and to make proposals on how policy and practices should be changed in order to improve outcomes. 

An initial consultation paper, published in October 2017, proposed the development of 'National Retirement Income Targets' and was followed by a period of consultation with stakeholders across the retirement sector. The final recommendations were published in July 2018 in a report; Hitting The Target: A Vision For Retirement Income Adequacy. The report sets out a series of recommendations for improving the retirement outcomes for millions of future retirees.


The central proposal of this initial Consultation Paper, published on 10th October 2017, is that the UK should develop a set of ‘national retirement income targets’ which would help stimulate public debate on adequacy, help individuals plan for retirement, and act as a guide to public policy. The paper invites comments on the best way to construct such targets and includes research which indicates that the adoption of targets would be welcomed by the public.

The remainder of the paper sets out current, or new, PLSA proposals in areas that are key to enabling people to achieving better retirement outcomes. These cover pension contributions, property, working longer, governance, decumulation and engagement.


The consultation closed on the 12th January 2018. The PLSA received 16 written responses from stakeholders across the retirement savings sector. In addition to the written responses, the PLSA has also heard from stakeholders through a series of expert roundtable events and member roadshows that addressed subject areas in the consultation document. Overall, the PLSA received input from more than 100 stakeholders and over 50 organisations. The principal findings from the written responses and the stakeholder events can be viewed here.

Final Recommendations

On the 5th July 2018, the PLSA published Hitting The Target: A Vision For Retirement Income Adequacy. This report builds on the feedback to the Hitting The Target consultation that we received and sets out a series of recommendations for improving the retirement outcomes for millions of future retirees.

We believe both the Government and the pensions sector must do more to ensure everyone has an adequate income in retirement. The public policy framework should guide savers to towards good outcomes. Pension schemes and providers need to deliver well-governed, good value products and offer services that support savers in their decision-making.

The PLSA is proposing a programme of reform that will deliver this vision that includes the following elements: widely used retirement income targets; adequate pension contributions; well governed schemes; guided ‘at retirement’ decisions; accessible housing wealth; easy to work in later life; and effective engagement.

Download the report below, and a two page summary of the final recommendations.



'Hitting the Target: A Vision For Retirement Adequacy' builds on the feedback that the PLSA received from consultation respondents and roundtable participants. It outlines the PLSA’s final policy recommendations in several areas, including:

  • Introducing Retirement Income Targets: A package of measures is needed to improve savers’ engagement in pensions, including the development and adoption of Retirement Income Targets. The PLSA has commissioned an independent research institute to develop such targets, which will be released in early 2019. We will work with Government and lifetime savings industry to roll out the targets.
  • Increasing Pension Savings: The Government should raise the minimum contribution levels for automatic enrolment from 8% of band earnings to 12% of total salary between 2025 and 2030 and rebalance employer/employee contributions so that they 50% each. This will ensure that pension saving remains affordable for savers.
  • Improving Pension Scheme Governance: The pensions sector should continue to improve the quality of trustees. IGCs should have their remit extended to cover savers throughout the retirement saving journey. The industry should also develop a set of metrics to help trustees to assess whether a scheme offers good value for money.
  • Increasing ‘At Retirement’ Support: Pension schemes should signpost savers to appropriate product options at retirement to ensure that those who have difficulty making an active decisions are still able to access good value products.
  • Other Retirement Income Sources: It should be easier for people to supplement their retirement savings with income from other sources, such as housing wealth, and to work for longer if they need or want to. The Single Financial Guidance Body’s guidance sessions should both cover property assets and how income from earnings can be used to supplement pension income.

Launch of the retirement living standards

In October 2019 the PLSA launched the Retirement Living Standards, one of the key recommendations of the Hitting the Target report. The standards are designed to help people picture the lifestyle they want when they retire – and understand the cost. They are pitched at three levels – minimum, moderate and comfortable, and based on a basket of goods and services. Like the ‘five a day’ healthy eating maxim, the PLSA hopes the Standards will one day become a rule of thumb for retirement planning. Find out more about the standards here or read the press release announcing them here.