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Pension Awareness Day: don’t put your retirement in jeopardy

Written by: Paloma Kubiak
Saturday 15 September marks Pension Awareness Day – a campaign launched to educate and promote the benefits of saving for retirement.

As part of the nationwide campaign to help the UK save for a happier retirement, a tour bus will make the 2,500-mile journey from Edinburgh via Newcastle, Leicester, Cardiff, Reading and then London.

Launched by Pension Geeks and Scottish Widows, pension experts will help people understand long-term savings with a number of tips and guides.

It comes as Scottish Widows’ latest retirement report revealed only 55% of people are saving adequately for retirement, while one in seven aren’t saving anything at all.

Robert Cochran, retirement expert at Scottish Widows, said: “We’ve supported Pension Geeks since day one because we share the same passion and purpose – helping people achieve the happy retirement they want. For many people, pensions are confusing and they don’t know where to begin with understanding their own pension.”

‘Don’t put your retirement in jeopardy’

Kate Smith, head of pensions at Aegon urges people not to delay saving for retirement.

She said: “People aren’t saving enough for their later life and as a result are probably facing an extended working life. Pensions give people choices. Getting into the savings habit early allows people to retire when they are ready, rather than keeping on working because they have to.

“People should be aiming to save about 15% of their earnings into a pension over their lifetime. Based on average earnings of £27,040 a year, this means saving around £340 a month. But as pension contributions attract tax relief, the change in take home pay is only £272 a month for 20% income tax payers.

“Nearly all jobs now come with a pension and an employer contribution, making pensions more affordable for the employed. But the self-employed aren’t so lucky. They don’t have the benefit of an employer contribution, so it’s even more important they start saving early.

“The longer people delay saving, the more they have to save later to make up the shortfall, which could put retirement in jeopardy for many.”

Tips to help you develop a pension savings habit

  1. Don’t delay, get into the habit of pension saving early.
  2. If auto-enrolled into your employer’s workplace pensionscheme, don’t opt-out.
  3. If you previously opted-out – don’t do this again. You miss out on employer contributions and tax top-up from the government.
  4. Find out how much your employer pays into your pensionand whether they will match your contributions.
  5. Pay in enough to maximise your employer’s contribution.
  6. Use an online test to work out if you are a risk-taker or risk-averse, to help you invest your contributions to match your risk appetite, rather than relying on the scheme default investment fund.
  7. Don’t wait a year for your annual benefit statement, which will be out of date by the time you receive it. Being online means you’re able to monitor and review your pensionsavings in real time.
  8. Sign up to pay higher contributions today for tomorrow – when you get a pay rise or that well-earned promotion.

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