No matter how far you are from retirement, answering these key questions could help you be better prepared
Do you know your State Pension Age?
Thousands of women born in the early 1950s face waiting up to six years longer than expected to draw their State Pension, which is due to rise to 66 by 2020. The government has an online calculator to help work out your State Pension Age.
How much State Pension are you entitled to?
If you reached the State Pension Age on or after 6 April 2016, you’ll be eligible for the New State Pension. It will pay up to £155.65 a week if you have 35 years’ National Insurance Contributions (NICs) or equivalent credits. You can request a State Pension statement showing how much you are likely to get from the Future Pension Centre.
Can you fill any gaps in your State Pension entitlement?
Taking a break to raise children can affect your State Pension entitlement, which is based on the NICs you’ve made over your lifetime.
You might have built up some State Pension entitlement if you were receiving certain benefits. For example, full-time parents claiming child benefit for children under the age of 12.
Have you lost track of any pensions?
The average 65-year old has had five or six jobs throughout their career and one in ten has lost track of at least one pension scheme.
If you need to track down a lost pension, contact your past employers’ pension scheme trustees, or get in touch with the Government’s free Pension Tracing Service.
Can you take advantage of the pension freedoms?
If you have a defined contribution (DC) pension – sometimes called a money purchase scheme – you can access your pension pot from age 55.
You can take up to 25% tax free. With the rest you can choose to buy an annuity, enter drawdown or take it as cash. Whatever you decide to do, there are tax implications to consider.
This article has been commissioned by retiresavvy and any opinions voiced are the author's own.