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Here Are Some Useful Tips to Help Get You Started

What the State provides:

There’s more than the basic State Pension, but what you get depends on your circumstances.


Other pensions:

The usual way to save for retirement is by putting money in a pension, either through work or you can start one yourself.


How much can you afford to save?

Saving in a pension is a long-term commitment, so you need to be sure you can keep up the payments.


Other options:

You may think that pensions are not for you, so think about how else you’ll manage in retirement.


Review your situation:

If your circumstances change, for example if you get married or divorced, or lose your job, you should look at your finances.


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What the State provides
Basic State Pension: Most of us will get a basic State Pension. This is based on National Insurance contributions you have paid throughout your working life.
Additional State Pension: Depending on your individual circumstances you may be entitled to the State Second Pension (which used to be called SERPS).

Boosting your State Pension: If you have gaps in your contribution record, you may be able to top them up to get a better State Pension. You can check if you have gaps by asking for a State Pension forecast.

Pension Credit: If you’re 60 or over, you may be entitled to Pension Credit, but it will depend on your income in retirement.

When you can claim: The State Pension age is 65 for men and 60 for women. This will go up to 65 for women retiring between 2010 and 2020 and to 68 for men or women retiring from 2024.


Other pensions

 What is a pension? A pension is a long-term investment. The money you pay in is invested and used to provide an income when you retire, called an annuity. Exactly how this is done depends on the type of pension you have. You can’t touch the money until you are at least 50 (55 from 2010), and you get tax relief on what you pay in.

Pensions at work: Although you don't have to join a work pension scheme, it's usually a good idea to do so, because your employer may also pay into it and you often get other benefits.

Currently if you work for a business with fewer than five employees, your employer doesn’t have to offer a pension scheme. But still check what’s available, as they may offer a scheme anyway.

From 2012 Personal Accounts will be introduced, all employers will have to provide a pension scheme (if no suitable scheme already exists) and pay into it as well as the employee,  this will be compulsory for both parties.


Pensions you take out yourself

If you can afford to save regularly, you may decide to start a pension yourself. So find out what’s available and whether it’s right for you, we can help you with this.

How much can you afford to save?  Remember a pension is a long-term commitment that you can’t touch until you’re at least 50 (55 from 2010). Think about what other financial priorities you may have before committing to an extra regular payment.

Tax relief : When you pay into a pension you get tax relief. This means that to invest £100 into your pension it will only cost you £80 after tax (2009/10 tax year) or less if you’re a higher rate tax payer. Remember this when you're working out how much to pay in.


Other options
Savings or investments: There are lots of different long-term savings and investments you could use to save for your retirement. You may be able to get your money sooner, but you won't get the benefit of tax relief and you may also pay tax on the interest or other income you earn.

Using investments or other assets: You may think about cashing in insurance policies or selling investments to pay for your retirement. But bear in mind that you may lose money if you do this before insurance policies mature, or you may not be able to sell investments when you want to.

Using your home: You may think about selling your home, getting something smaller and using the extra money to pay for your retirement. But prices can go down, and you may not be able to sell it when you want to or at the right price.