Retirement: 7 ‘simple’ tips to ‘increase’ the money saved in pensions

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As the cost of living crisis continues, and bills are on the rise, it may seem impossible to think about pensions at the moment, however following these simple steps can make all the difference and boost funds. Financial experts at Standard Life put together some simple tips that people can follow to make the most of their pensions.

1 Brush up on your pension knowledge
The more people know about pensions, the easier it can be for them to make informed choices about their own pension plan. There are plenty of free online resources to help people get to grips with pensions.

On their website, Standard Life can help people understand what types of pension plans are available, how and when they could take their pension savings and even how people can get tax benefits on their pension payments.

MoneyHelper, backed by the Government, also provides clear guidance on people’s money and pension choices, explaining what they need to do and how they can do it.

2 Download an app or register for online servicing
Britons keeping an eye on their pension savings doesn’t have to mean setting aside lots of time or sitting down with a stack of documents.

Using apps or online servicing can be a quick, easy way to look at pension savings – and people can do this on the go. There are often other things people can do online or through apps, such as making pension payments or updating their details.

3 Check the beneficiary information is up to date
People’s pension savings aren’t normally covered by their will, so their pension provider ultimately decides who receives them when they die.

However, depending on the type of pension plan people have, they can usually name the people they want their money to go to. These are known as your beneficiaries. Your pension provider will take your wishes into account, but they cannot be bound by them. If people have already nominated their beneficiaries, they should review them regularly and update this information if their wishes change.

For example, someone may want to change their beneficiaries after remarrying or having children. Keeping this information up to date can help make sure their money goes to the people they want it to.

People might need to ask their pension provider for a beneficiary nomination form. Or they may be able to name and update beneficiaries online.

4 Check on their investments
It’s important to look at where the money in one’s pension plan is invested. Whether people have chosen those investments themselves or someone else has done the work for them.

If someone is a long way from retirement, they might be happy to take more risks with their pension investments as they won’t be accessing their savings for a while.

But if they’re nearing retirement or taking money from their pension plan already, they may want to take less risk. Whatever the situation, it’s important people feel comfortable with their investments and that they match up with their goals. 

People can take a risk questionnaire on the Standard Life website to see how much risk they might be comfortable taking when it comes to their investments. Britons are reminded that their pension is an investment. Its value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in.

For example, if they’re over the age of 22 but under State Pension age, they’re likely to have been automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme.

In this case, their employer normally needs to pay in a minimum of three percent of their earnings, while their minimum payment is usually five percent.

Some employers are willing to pay in more than the three percent minimum, and some might match one’s payments up to a certain amount – so if they put in more, they will as well.

It’s worth checking with employers to see what’s possible. This could help increase the money saved into their pension plan. People can read more about workplace pensions on GOV.UK.

6 Use a tool or calculator
There are lots of free resources available online that can make it easier to plan for life after work. Using these might help people decide how best to manage their pension savings.

People can use a pension calculator, to check how much money their pension pot might contain in the future and see if this figure matches up with their retirement goals.

If someone has contact details that are out of date, their pension provider might not be able to get in touch with them, and they could lose track of their pension plan.

Individuals probably don’t want to miss out on any money or spend time tracing their pensions. Making sure their information is accurate is a good way to avoid this.

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