The contents below are for general information purposes and are not intended to constitute advice regarding investments or your own personal circumstances. You should always take the advice of an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) before making decisions about your investments and pensions.
Are your pension plans on track?
The Pension Advisory Service (TPAS) has a calculator to help you identify what level of income you can expect in retirement and whether you are on track Online planners - The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS).
The state pension should be the basic foundation of your pension plans but if you are relying solely on a state pension you are unlikely to be able to enjoy a comfortable retirement.
You can get an estimate of your basic state pension by using the State Pension calculator - GOV.UK, and you can get a more detailed estimate of your state pension by applying for a state pension statement.
If your employer offers a company pension they usually make contributions into the scheme. It is usually beneficial to join the scheme as you are giving up part of your remuneration if you don’t take advantage of your employer’s contributions.
The government have introduced new legislation that will require all employers to offer automatic enrolment into workplace pensions by 2018. Under the legislation, the minimum contribution to be made by the employer will be 1%, rising to 2% from Oct 2017, and 3% from Oct 2018 - although employers may choose to offer higher contributions.
If you are self-employed (which a lot of RICS members are), then you will have to make your own pension arrangements. Whilst reasons can always be found for delaying starting to save in a pension, the earlier you start, the easier it is to achieve your desired retirement income, as the money invested earliest has the longest time to grow. The longer you leave it the greater your monthly contributions will need to be to achieve your desired level of income.
Employees who are members of company schemes who want to increase their retirement income can also supplement their retirement savings through private pensions.
Advice on what type of private pension to take out
If you have decided you need to start a private pension, it can be difficult to know where to start.
There is a lot of free independent advice on the Money Advice Service website which has been set up by the government. There is also free independent advice on The Pension Advisory Service website and you can contact one of their pension experts for advice by phone, email or webchat. Whilst they won’t be able to advise you on which pension provider you should contact, you should then be in a position to know whether you feel able to find a suitable pension and pension provider yourself or whether you will then need to contact an Independent Financial Advisor (IFA) to help you.