The main difference is that the mixture of contributions from you, your employer and the government into defined benefit occupational pensions used to be about 22 per cent of your salary.
It means that if you pay into a personal pension for forty years, you will get out 41 per cent of what you would have got from a defined benefit occupational pension.
Then there is the cost of an annuity, which is 10 to 15 per cent higher for people in personal pensions. The terrifying conclusion is that your pension will be about a quarter of what it was if you had paid into an old-fashioned occupational pension.
For many of us, four years are enough anyway. Something happens, we stop paying in, the pension scheme falls dormant and our next employer starts up another one. We end up with multiple pots of money, each one leeching money in charges, unclear how to pool them, with no clear disinterested advice (I have three; Sarah has eight).
That is why Steve Webb's clampdown on charges is so important. High charges have leached funds from savers, they encourage too much pointless activity, and unbalance the economy. But let me ask this: how come Webb can act when so few others seem able to?