The Back Pocket
Savings Accounts – Retire In Style
We all look forward to the day when we can give up work – but to ensure your retirement is comfortable you will need to prepare for it carefully. Putting a proportion of your earnings towards a pension may seem like a drag right now, but realistically you will need to save for as long as possible to gain a decent income in later years. Not only this, but there are substantial benefits to saving into a pension – you’re not taxed on contributions and there may be additional extras such as life insurance or lump sums included in your scheme. These days people are investing more and more in private pension schemes and long term savings – the state pension is likely to become negligible with an ageing national population. State Pension At present, the basic pension for a single person is £82.05 a week.
This depends on you having made sufficient National Insurance Contributions over your working life. Even if you have paid off your mortgage by the time you retire, would this be enough for you to live on? Bear in mind that the age when you can claim your pension (currently 65 for men, 60 for women) is highly likely to rise in the near future, and keep on rising. Company Pensions Employers are likely to offer some form of pension scheme. The terms and details of these vary from company to company, but usually fall into one of two basic types: ‘final salary’ schemes, based on your salary and how long you’ve been paying into the pension; and ‘money purchase’ schemes, which depend on the amount contributed into the fund. When you retire, you then buy an annuity – a type of insurance which will pay you a regular income.
A money purchase scheme can be more flexible, but slightly more risky. Personal Pensions These schemes offer a lot of flexibility, and there are several different ways to invest, including investment trusts and unit-linked schemes that depend on share prices. Personal pensions operate in roughly the same manner as company pensions, only you have more control over your investment. Currently there are limits on the contributions you can make to personal pensions, but these are set to change in 2006. The rules on pensions are changing all the time, and are likely to undergo radical changes in the next few years. For up to date advice, check the Pensions Advisory Service at www.pensionsadvisoryservice.org.
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