This is a Woman&Home advertorial.
What have you got saved already?
Standard Life research found that 84% do not know what they have in pension savings, so don’t skip step one. You need to gather all the information you need so you can find out just where you stand:
State pensions: Go to gov.uk/state-pension-statement to find out how much you might get when you claim your state pension. This is a particular issue for women as the state pension age is increasing.
Workplace pensions: Ask the trustees of your current pension scheme for a pension forecast (or dig out the last one you received). And don’t forget pensions held by former employers. Again a particular problem for women as many have career breaks so it is not uncommon to have a “lost” pension or “left” pension with an old employer. If you have lost track of these – perhaps because the firm you worked for has been sold or merged – contact the Pensions Tracing Service (gov.uk/find-lost-pension).
Add up what other savings you have – for example, in ISAs.
DID YOU KNOW? The Government estimates there could be £3billion in lost pensions. Remember a pension left with a former employer or in a personal pension you’ve forgotten about, is your money – so don’t miss out on claiming it.
How much extra do you need to set aside
To work this out, you need a good idea of your income needs in retirement. If for example, you know you will get £1,000 a month from the state, employer and private pensions you have, but you think you will need £2,000 a month to cover all your outgoings, then you need to significantly increase what you are saving each month. The amount varies from person to person, so do your own forecast by using the Standard Life online planning tool at standardlife.co.uk/c1/guides-and-calculators/pension-calculator.
If the amount seems totally beyond what you can afford, you can make retirement more affordable by retiring later – and possibly taking your State pension later too (which will boost what you get), flexi-retiring – working part-time to continue earning, putting less of a strain on your pension fund. Downsizing – moving down the property ladder can not only release equity (cash) from your home, it can reduce the cost of running your property.
Set aside more now
The longer you have to invest the more affordable retirement will be – remember you can keep saving into a pension well into your 60s and (subject to certain limits) even after you have started to access your pension. The two main options include ISAs. These grow free of tax and when you take the money out it is also free of tax (unlike with pensions where only 25% is tax free). You have the choice of investments or cash savings and there are no upper age restrictions.