It may feel like retirement is a lifetime away, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start making preparations. The sooner you start, the more you will save and the longer your savings will have to grow. Here’s an easy check list to get you on the path to the retirement you want:
Your State Pension – get your online forecast
It should be easy to work out how much State Pension you will get. If you have 35 years’ worth of National Insurance contributions or credits by the time you reach your State Pension age, then you should get the full amount of new State Pension. This is currently £164.35 a week, so works out around £8,500 a year. It normally gets increased each year.
If that doesn’t sound as much as you’d ideally want to live on, think about the ways you can increase the amount of money you’ll have to live on when you retire. The State Pension forms a good foundation, but there are other things you can do now to make sure you can have the lifestyle you want when you retire, like saving into a workplace pension.
Your online forecast should also help you to spot any gaps in your National Insurance Record. You can get National Insurance credits automatically if you’re claiming certain benefits or applied for Child Benefit for children under 12 (it’s important that you apply for Child Benefit, even if you won’t be rewarded with it, as you’ll need to have applied to secure this credit). Other credits may be awarded if you apply for them. Find out more about National Insurance Credits, including how to claim.
Your State Pension age is the earliest you can get your State Pension. State Pension age is regularly reviewed by the Government and may change in the future, so make sure you regularly check yours so that you can plan appropriately.
Save with a workplace pension
To help boost your pension pot, it’s important to explore the other ways in which you can save for retirement. A workplace pension is an easy way to start saving for later life, and it’s never too soon to start saving into one. The earlier you start, the more you’ll have when you retire.
Employers have to enrol you into a workplace pension if you are eligible, where you make contributions direct from your pay. And when you pay in, in most cases your boss and the Government does too. If you don’t save into a workplace pension when you get the chance, or you choose to leave it, then you’re giving up this extra money from your employer and the Government.
When you are thinking about a new job, find out about the pension scheme too and how much your employer contributes to it. It’s an important part of your total package. Some employers even match your contributions, so if you pay more in, so will they.
By law, your employer will have to automatically enrol you into a workplace pension if you’re 22 or over, earn £10,000 a year or more, and you usually work in the UK.
Get saving and saving more
There are other ways to save too, including a personal or stakeholder pension. These are private pensions that you arrange yourself.
You can also save into a Lifetime ISA, which is an individual savings account that can accrue money yearly from the Government, but you’ll need to open one before you reach 40.
If you are self-employed, or don’t have the option of a workplace pension, it’s important to think about saving for later life. There are still pension products out there for you and you might still get tax relief from the Government.
You can get impartial advice about pensions from The Pensions Advisory Service. The Money Advice Service can help with advice about retirement planning, savings and managing your money. You can also talk to an independent financial adviser, but you’ll usually have to pay for the advice.