10 Things You May Want to Know About Pensions
You could get ‘free money’! The government automatically gives you 20% or more tax relief when you and your employer make a contribution to your pension. Could you do a salary sacrifice with work? Check your employer contributions and make the most of these.
Make use of an online calculator like this one from Money Advice Service to check how much you’re going to need in retirement and what that means for how much you should be putting away now.
If you are auto-enrolled on a workplace pension, check whether it’s “defined contribution” (calculated on the basis of how much you put in) or “defined benefit” (dependant on how long you worked at the company and the amount of your salary).
If you are self-employed, do you have a personal pension? It’s never too soon to start building one up. No one else is going to do it for you!
There is a maximum you can contribute per year into a pension: the maximum of your yearly earnings and £40k, and in your lifetime: £1,055,000 in the tax year 2019-20 (but rules are changing every year).
The more you save, and the earlier you start, the bigger your retirement pot will be thanks to our old friend, compound interest (interest on interest).
When you do finally retire, you are able to take 25% of your money tax-free, above this amount you start to pay taxes.
The state pension may not be enough to live on on its own (currently £168.60 per week for a full pension, i.e. 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions) but still check you are making the most of your National Insurance Contributions especially if you’ve taken time out of work to have children, or you’ll end up with even less.
Good news for the coupled up: if you have a partner you can pay into each other’s pensions.
Check the Pension Advisory Service for anything else, talk to your HR manager and/or arrange a meeting with a financial adviser. Basically, take action! It’s so easy to let pension matters slide, but you’ll regret it when you’re ready to sail off on to that over-60s cruise only to discover you can’t afford a cabin with a balcony. Or, like, somewhere to live.
Psst: Always check the latest rules and consult a financial adviser if needed!