In your 40s and panicking about your pension? Here’s what to do.

By / 08 June 2016

08
June 2016

In your 40s and panicking about your pension? Here’s what to do.

Let’s not kid ourselves, long-term saving really isn’t exciting. You won’t find much fun in squirreling money away (unless you’re Martin Lewis) so it’s forgivable if you’ve reached your 40s and a pension has only just become a priority. After all, some even say 40 is the new 20.

Nonetheless, it’s probably time to get your pension affairs in order. So, without further ado, here’s some tips to help you get on top of things…

Step one: ensure you’re automatically enrolled

Seen a big blue monster advertising workplace pensions recently? Don’t worry, us and thousands of others didn’t get it either…

But we did get the government’s drive to get people saving. The state pension is unlikely to be enough to support you in your later life, so it’s vital that you take up a workplace pension if you’re employed.

What you can do

The new auto-enrolment rules compel your workplace to contribute towards your pension, as long as you’re paying into the scheme. The employer minimum contribution is currently 1% of your annual salary, but many workplaces offer ‘contribution matching’, which means they’ll increase their contributions if you increase yours. Ensure your employer’s got you enrolled and up your own contribution if you can afford it. Self-employed? Check out our self-employed guide to pensions.

Step two: locate and transfer your old pensions

Chances are you’ve worked in quite a few places by now, so you’re likely to have a few pensions dotted around. This could have a real impact on your savings, so it’s wise to find out where they all are.

Let it stay where it is and you could be damaging your pension prospects.

This is because this dormant cash could be sitting in a poorly-performing fund or in a scheme with horrendously high fees. Let it stay where it is and you could be damaging your pension prospects, and shortchanging yourself needlessly.

What you can do

At PensionBee we put your old pensions all into one place, our Tracker, Tailored and Future World plans are managed by three of the largest money managers in the world. Don’t know where your old pensions are? Check out our page on finding and transferring pensions.

Step three: get an online account

Clarity is key when it comes to saving, so it’s important to check your pension as much as possible so you know where you stand. You need to know which funds are performing, but it’s often easier said than done - many pension providers have a preference for posting docs that are tricky to decipher.

What you can do

If you pick a PensionBee plan, you’ll have 24/7 online access to your pension, so you can easily check how much money is in your pension pot, how your funds are performing, and how much you’re likely to receive on retirement.

Step four: keep on top of your contributions

What you’re putting into your pension now will shape your later life drastically, so it’s important to find the right level of contributions and keep them up every month. Around 15% of salary is a good idea, but ultimately there’s or no right or wrong sum - what suits best will depend upon your own circumstances and how much you want in your pension pot.

What you can do

Consider at least the following when coming to your contribution level:

  • The balance of your existing pension(s) (should you have some pension pots from previous jobs)
  • Your planned retirement age
  • Your ideal retirement income

This should then give you a ballpark figure to start aiming at. Our pension calculator can also give you a better idea about what to save.

As always with investments, your capital might be at risk.

Mark James

by Mark James

Content and Communications Manager

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