7 steps to planning your retirement

Whether your retirement is years away or just around the corner, by planning ahead now, you’ll get the retirement you want later. Here’s our 7 step guide to planning your retirement.

1. Check your State Pension online

Your State Pension is based on your National Insurance contributions during your working life. The full weekly rate of the new State Pension is £179.60 (around £9,350 a year), but yours may be more or less than this.

Find out how much you could get and when you can get it:

Check your State Pension

2. Think about starting a private pension

If you are thinking about starting a pension but not sure where to start, visit the Pensions Advisory Service and get some free guidance (external website) and get some free guidance. They will be able to help you plan for your retirement and get you heading in the right direction.

And don’t forget the Money Advice Service (external website) – they can also help with all things financial.

3. Save with a workplace pension

If you’re already enrolled in a workplace pension, then you’re ahead of the game. Remember: when you pay in, your boss does too.

If you’ve got a workplace pension, then you’ll probably get an annual statement to tell you how much you’ve saved, and explain when you can claim it. That can help you work out whether you’ll have enough saved for the retirement you want.

You may be able to choose to pay more into your workplace pension, and sometimes your employer also increases the amount they pay in too. That can help build up your pension pot.

Find out more about workplace pensions

4. Be wary of scammers

Stay scam aware, especially when making changes to your private pension. Be wary of unsolicited phone calls, texts or emails from people claiming they’re from government-backed bodies – if you’re unsure, just hang up! Don’t be enticed by time-limited offers and snazzy websites, or exotic-sounding investments offering ‘guaranteed returns’.

The Pensions Regulator have more information on protecting yourself from scammers (external website), and advice on what you can do if you suspect a scam.

If you’re thinking of cashing in your pension, investigate the details and always check whether the firm you’re dealing with is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (external website).

5. Keep track of your pension schemes

With people now having 11 jobs on average over the course of their working lives, it’s easy to lose track of an old workplace pension. There’s currently over £400 million in unclaimed pension savings in the UK that could be helping people in their retirements.

If you need help tracking down your old pensions, visit the Pension Tracing Service to make sure you don’t miss out (external website).

6. Manage your pension pot effectively

If you’re aged 50 or over and have a personal or workplace pension, Pension Wise can help you make sense of your options (external website). Their specialists can offer you free, impartial guidance on managing your pension pot and help you understand what your options are.

You’ll get a 45 to 60 minute appointment either over the phone or face-to-face somewhere local you. Visit Pension Wise (external website) to book an appointment, and find out more about your pension with helpful online guidance.

Start planning with our pension calculator

7. Think about working differently

You might want to slow down or use your skills and experience in a different role, or you might have new caring responsibilities to manage. Whatever the reason, you have the right to ask your employer to consider flexible working arrangements (external website).

Find out more about working differently

If you want to continue working, think about whether to delay taking your State Pension (external website). This could help boost your retirement income and if you’re over State Pension age, you won’t need to pay National Insurance any more – that could boost the average full time salary by around £2,500 a year.