Are you sitting uncomfortably? Then I’ll begin!
Stories, tales and fables can be very entertaining as the pages are turned and the vision unfolds.
Life is, as they say, what you make it, and is in itself a story, all about you. Hopefully, as the pages turn, the tale of you becomes more involved and exciting, building to a fabulous end. And this is where the troubles might begin if you don’t put money aside when you can to pay for the last few chapters of your life.
Now, we appreciate that ‘Starting my Pension’ might not be the most exciting of chapters; however, it’s easy to forget about your pensions – and most of us have a number of them – old ones just sit there, active ones receive contributions every month, and that’s about it. How many of us actually think about how much we are saving for retirement, in whatever form that takes, and whether it will be adequate for our needs when we do stop work? Don’t forget the State Pension as well, which might mean that you have a few ‘pots’ to use in the latter pages of the book that is you.
The UK pension market was the second largest in the world, with only the US ahead, at 62% of worldwide pensions assets. In 2020, Japan overtook the UK, representing 6.9% to the UK’s 6.8% (source: Thinking Ahead Institute Global Pension Assets Study 2021). The UK market has seen a compound annual growth rate of 4.6% over the last decade, and it is likely that automatic enrolment has played a part in this growth.
Despite the challenges we are all facing as the pandemic continues, the UK pensions market is resilient, and for many people, pensions remain in place, invested and active. However, the past year has brought into sharp focus for some the importance of reviewing retirement plans, as these have arrived somewhat earlier than expected owing to redundancy or changed life choices.
There’s a lot you can do to try to make sure things are as on track as possible for you and your loved ones, such as:
Making sure your pensions and investments are invested in line with your attitude to investment risk and capacity for loss
Checking that the plans you hold are competitive in their charging structure – some older plans can be significantly more expensive than more modern ones (but take professional advice before making any changes)
Having a look at the contributions that you and your employer are making – could you save more? And if you do, will your employer match your increase?
Using tax-efficient pension and investment allowances each year where affordable and available – for example, the ISA allowance of £20,000 each year and the annual allowance for pensions (normally £40,000 gross pa from all sources but varies depending on your circumstances)
Checking that the nominations of death benefits on your pension plans are up to date and as you would wish, to make sure that your loved ones benefit in the event of your death
Check your State Pension online here: https://www.gov.uk/check-state-pension
Whatever you do, make sure that the pages that you write for your latter years are the ones that you want!