6 mistakes that could leave you worse off in retirement

Many people avoid thinking about retirement until it is just around the corner, but this could mean missing out on tens of thousands of pounds. Whether it is just five years away or 50 years away, we should all be saving for our later life income. Here are five things to try and avoid.  

1 PensionOpting out of your workplace pension scheme

The implementation of auto-enrolment is now well under way and has already had a positive impact on the number of people saving. If you decide to opt out of your company pension you may miss out on thousands of pounds when you come to retire. This is because when you contribute towards your workplace pension, your employer does too, and to top it off you’ll receive tax relief from the government. Currently, the minimum contribution that employees have to make under auto-enrolment is 0.8% of their gross earnings. The tax relief applied to that is 0.2% for a basic-rate taxpayer and the employer contribution is 1%. So if you put £80 away it will be boosted to £200 after tax relief and your employer’s contribution have been added. The tax relief you receive depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.  This is a great opportunity to get the ball rolling and secure a good income for later life.

2 PensionDelaying saving for retirement

Saving smaller amounts of money over a longer period of time is often much more effective than saving bigger amounts over a shorter period of time, because compound interest has time to work its magic. Research from the Money Advice Service shows that:

  • If someone saves £200 per month for 20 years they’ll have around £75,000, but,

  • If someone saves £100 per month for 40 years they’ll have a pot size of around £123,000

This example would mean losing out on £48,000 despite having put away the same amount of money, which could be the equivalent of three years of income, or alternatively a sizeable inheritance to leave behind for your children and loved ones.

3 PensionFailing to keep track of your pension’s performance

In the busy world we live in today people often cannot find time to do things and tend to put tasks on the back-burner, and sometimes never get around to doing them at all. However, when it comes to your retirement you cannot afford to forget. Regularly checking the performance of your pension fund is essential for making sure you’re on track to save enough. It may be that your circumstances have changed since you first set up your pension investments and now have a different attitude to risk. Or it could be that your pension isn’t growing as well as you thought and you need to reconsider where you have invested your savings. If you have more than one pension you could be paying several fees and charges so it might make financial sense to combine your pots. High charges and low growth could diminish your fund by thousands of pounds so it is important that you monitor performance. If you’re unsure of where to start, we would be glad to help you.

4 PensionRelying on the State Pension

The State Pension alone does not provide enough income to have a comfortable retirement. The maximum basic State Pension is currently just £115.95 per week, or £6,029 per year. This should be treated as extra income on top of your own provisions to boost what you have already saved. Aside from the low income offered by the state, the age at which you can access this money continues to increase in line with life expectancy. If you rely solely on the State Pension you may be forced to continue working past retirement age to top up your income.

5 PensionRelying on your home

Some people may rely on the equity in their home to look after them when they retire. According to the Equity Release Council the most popular reason why people release equity is to boost their income once they have stopped working. However, this decision is not suitable for everyone and there are several pros and cons to consider.

6 PensionBuying an annuity before shopping around

80% of people who purchased an annuity from their current provider could have got a better deal on the open market, so it is well worth shopping around before making any important decisions. After all, annuities are typically irreversible, so once you have bought one it’ll be too late to take advantage of a better offer. What’s more, there could be a difference of up to 60% in annuity income between the best and worst quotes available as shown in the graph below.

It’s fair to say that your pension savings won’t look after themselves. It is important that you take responsibility for your later life income and make adequate provisions to avoid being in financial difficulty in later life. Take the first step now and click here to find out how our free pension review could help you.

Call 0800 304 7288 for a friendly chat about your pension

The details provided in this article are for general information only and are in no way deemed to be financial advice. All of the material is correct as of the publication date, but could be out-of-date by the time you read the article. For our latest information and news, please see our articles section: https://www.portafina.co.uk/whats-new

We are really looking forward to reading your comments. Before you start writing, please just remember that everything you write will be displayed publically – including your name. Not sure what sort of thing you can write, and what sort of things you should avoid? Please have a quick read of our social rules for guidance.

Back to top