Take control of your pension

Although there is no bad time to review your retirement arrangements, with all the changes taking place in the sector, now is a particularly appropriate moment to ensure you are making the most of your pension.

Lost and found

Research conducted by Age UK has found a quarter of UK adults have lost track of at least one pension accumulated during their careers. The average individual aged over 65 has worked for at least five employers – and a quarter of those aged between 25 and 34 have already worked for a similar number. Given this, we are more than likely to have several different pension pots.

To trace a missing pension, try contacting the Pension Tracing Service at

https://www.gov.uk/find-lostpension or call 0845 6002 537.

Consider your options

If you have several different pension pots, you might consider consolidating them into one. Most occupational and private pension schemes can be transferred and consolidating all your pension savings is likely to cut administration and paperwork, make it easier for you to track the performance of your pension pot and could also reduce costs. Do proceed with caution, however, and take expert advice – once made, the decision to switch is irreversible and a wrong decision could incur harsh penalties.

Take a closer look

Every year, your pension provider should send you a statement showing the current value of your pension pot, and a forecast of what it will be worth when you reach your retirement age. Don’t just file it away – take a closer look. Does the projected value of your pension pot bear any relation to the amount you are aiming for? If not, consider what action you could take to boost its value – perhaps you could work longer or boost your pension contributions. At present, you can pay up to £3,600 or 100% of your earnings (whichever is larger) every year and receive tax relief on contributions of up to £50,000.

Focus on the future

Finally, while we may talk about “retirement age”, do you actually know your state pensionable age? Not so long ago, men used to retire at 65 and women at 60 but times have changed. The age at which you become eligible for your state pension – and the amount you receive – is determined by your National Insurance contributions.

Find out more using the government’s State Pension Calculator at https://www.gov.uk/calculate-state-pension.

For your Independent Financial Advice and help please contact Paul Hoskin at Hoskin Financial Planning