Have you got a pension down the back of your sofa?
Heading towards retirement? Time to make sure you’re going to receive all your entitlements.
With my official State Retirement Age looming ever closer, I recently checked out what I might expect to have to get by on in the years ahead. I’d been putting it off, fearing the worst; and while several annuities are ticking over nicely, my banker investment of a weekly Lottery ticket really wasn’t delivering the goods.
My first stop was contacting DWP to see what State Pension I might expect on my current contributions.
The bad news was that, like many self employed people, I didn’t have enough contributions to receive a full new flat rate pension. Many others who have had breaks in their working life, or who were contracted out, may find the same – as you now require 35 years’ contributions. The good news for me was, you can readily top up some, if not all, of these contributions. Even better – the rate of return is much higher than you can expect from other investments. Click here to find out more
And read the ever-excellent Paul Lewis on why boosting your pension represents an excellent investment.
Next stop… might I have any forgotten pensions to which I’ve contributed over the years? There has been a fair bit about about this in the press over the last year, since the DWP boosted its Pension Tracing Service. It was always a helpful telephone service, but it now has an online presence too.
This is a free facility and does what it says on the tin. Just tell them where you worked and when and they’ll give you the contact details of whoever is managing that pension fund now. That can be very helpful if a business has been sold, merged or closed down.
Aviva recently conducted a survey of almost ten thousand people which revealed that around one in eight of us think we might have at least one pension we’ve forgotten about – equal to more than 2.5 million pension policies. The Government’s own estimate is £400 million of unclaimed pensions.
I duly filled in the forms listing two companies I worked for in the 1970s – and one came up trumps. Having worked for that business for just two years I had built up a pension that will pay me over £250 a month as from next year. Well worth the effort, I’d say.
The moral of the story is this: even if you did short stints for employers going back decades, you might just be entitled to a pension now… and every mickel makes a muckle as they say. And DO check out your State Pension entitlements before it’s too late to make a difference to what you’ll receive.
Essential to everyone planning their future will be a detailed knowledge of just how much they need to fund their retirement – and for how long they will need to work. The answer is now available through a unique online retirement planning dashboard RetireEasy.co.uk, which allows you to feed in your income, outgoings and savings and map out a host of different future scenarios.
Go to www.retireeasy.co.uk to find out more.
By Tony Watts OBE
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