For many people, the thought of retirement seems so far away that it is impossible to even contemplate it. Unfortunately, the years do seem to accelerate faster and faster until there it is - retirement.
When I was much younger, I remember looking at people who are my age (that’s a secret!) and thinking that they were so very old and imagining myself at that age was absolutely out of the question. Now that I have reached a certain milestone in my life, I still consider myself to be fairly young and old age still seems an eternity away but I am aware of having to prepare for the future. Not that anyone of pensionable age is old, but rather I like to call it mature and wise.
There has been some recent publicity in the press that an increasing amount of people are of the impression that we should be living for the moment in the present and that is where we should be placing our focus instead of saving and planning for the future. I can certainly see the attraction in this. After all, no one can predict the future and when money is tight as it is currently for many people in the UK, shouldn’t we be concentrating on our financial needs now and not depriving ourselves or our families because we are putting money away for the future.
The ONS statistics show that for eligible employees in the UK aged between 22 and 65,8 in 10 have a pension which is a fairly large percentage yet the remaining 2 in 10 of the workforce do not have a work related pension.
The state pension is currently £203.85 each week for a single person but may change due to your national insurance contributions for which you will usually need at least ten qualifying years to receive it. However,this amount will be rising by 8.5% in April to £221.20 as just announced by the Chancellor in his Autumn Statement.
For some, the state pension will not be enough to give them a decent standard of living and this can cause unnecessary stress and worry.
A pension is a savings plan which your employer automatically takes from your wages and places it in the workplace pension scheme.
With the workplace pension you pay a certain amount and your employer will contribute also and the amount will depend on the type of scheme you are enrolled in. The government adds to this in the form of tax relief as long as you are paying income.
All employers must offer a pension scheme but you can opt out of this whenever you want to.
Most schemes will have set an age that you must reach before you can access your pension which is usually between the ages of 55 and 65 and how you receive this money is also dependent on which scheme you are enrolled on.
Having a pension can definitely give you peace of mind for the future and obviously the more you put in now, the more you will receive later on in life. However, it is a personal choice whether you have a work pension, a personal pension or none at all. Ultimately, whether to have a pension scheme depends on individual circumstances, financial goals and preferences. If anyone is unsure then it is best to consult with either your employer or a financial advisor so that you can make an informed decision.