Research programmes

Our mission is to find ways to support people to be financially secure, both today and into retirement

We conduct rigorous, cutting-edge research, working collaboratively with industry and academic partners to understand the financial challenges facing low- and moderate-income households. We use these data-driven insights to identify and test practical, real-world solutions. Our findings are shared widely and freely so that people around the world can benefit from our work.  

Our research is made up of programmes exploring how to help increase people’s shorter- and longer-term financial resilience, considering the different aspects of and interactions between household finances.

Workplace emergency savings

Emergency savings are a key part of the foundation for overall financial resilience and wellbeing, and act as a platform for people to be able to save adequately for their retirement. But millions of people in the UK do not have savings. Through our workplace emergency savings research programmes we’re trialling tools and approaches designed to help people build up a savings buffer.

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Real Accounts

We’re leading a programme of research designed to build an in-depth understanding of the lived experience of financial uncertainty among low- and moderate-income households across the country. This long-term study will provide a fully joined-up view of household finances, capturing the day-to-day, week-to-week ups and downs, and working with households to understand the situations they face and the strategies they use to manage their money.

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Using data to understand the dynamics of household finances

We’ve been collaborating with other organisations to develop ethical, well-governed ways of matching up data from Nest with other financial datasets and academic surveys to analyse the interactions between different aspects of household finance.

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Pensions adequacy and the household balance sheet

Building on recent work, we’re developing a richer pensions adequacy model that allows for the enormous variations between people’s financial lives and circumstances, and for the different strategies they might have. We believe this will allow for better targeting of nudges and other interventions that can help people make the right choices at the right times.

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Assessing the impact of earned wage access and workplace loans

We’ve conducted exploratory research that brings together existing evidence around earned wage access and workplace loans and reflects the viewpoints of different stakeholders – those of low- and moderate-income workers themselves, employer decision-makers, financial services providers and industry and consumer experts.

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Supporting self-employed people to save for retirement

We’re leading a programme of research to understand the low levels of saving seen among self-employed people and to test a range of approaches to encourage and enable retirement saving in a way that fits with their context and meets their needs.

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Engagement in pensions

We’ve worked with our partners on a range of research programmes to build a better understanding of the existing behaviours of automatically enrolled savers, and to explore how those behaviours might be influenced to help them achieve better outcomes.

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Employer contributions to pensions and other financial workplace benefits

We conducted research exploring the opportunities for innovation and voluntary increases in employer contributions to pensions and other financial workplace benefits.

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Retirement saving in the UK

Our Retirement saving in the UK series looks at the pension saving experiences of people who have been enrolled into Nest. With a sample that includes around a third of the UK working population, it’s one of the largest empirical studies of pension saving behaviours in the UK.

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The impact of Covid-19 on low to moderate income savers

When the Covid-19 pandemic struck the UK, causing a severe disruption to the economy and labour market, we conducted research to understand how the crisis was affecting low and moderate income workers.

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The UK pensions policy archive

Information on the UK’s landmark pension reforms is starting to be lost. Some items and documents are no longer physically available, other vital material is hard to find, even to those who know what they’re looking for. We worked with our partners to create an information hub that brings together existing information, and new material, in one place.

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The impact of phased auto enrolment minimum contribution levels

We conducted research to understand people’s experience of auto enrolment over time and the impact of the phased increases in minimum contribution levels in particular.

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