How to increase your pension savings

A lot of people find they have a shortfall when they check their pension savings, and realise their State Pension isn’t enough to have the retirement they want. If this applies to you, use our calculator to estimate how much extra you need to save. If you don’t know if you have a shortfall, use our links to check.

How to check if your pension income will not be enough

If your pension isn’t enough, how much do you need to fill the gap?

The cost of filling a shortfall in your projected pension income depends largely on your age.

The further away from retirement you are, the more time you have to boost your pension savings, and the more time your savings have to grow.

Remember that for 2021-22 the full new State Pension is £179.60 per week – depending on how many years National Insurance you have, you might get less.

This is why you need to think about what you can do if your State Pension is not enough. We’ve got some things you can do in the next few sections.

Your main options

When you’ve worked out how much extra you need to contribute to your pension savings each month, you have several options.

We’d suggest considering the following, in this order:

  1. If you’re employed, joining your employer’s workplace pension scheme is the best way to help fill your retirement income gap. All employers must now offer eligible employees a workplace pension and make contributions to it.
  2. If you’re already a member of a workplace scheme, boosting your contributions to it might be the most convenient option for you. Many employers match the contributions their employees pay, usually up to a certain amount, so if you pay more, they also pay more.
  3. If you’re self-employed or don’t qualify to join a workplace pension scheme, you can set up your own personal pension plan. The options here include ordinary personal pensions (which are offered by most larger providers, stakeholder plans (which have capped charges) and self-invested personal pensions (which can offer a wider investment choice, but often come with higher charges). You can also use NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) which was created by the government. 

The State Pension

You might also want to get a State Pension forecast to see how much your entitlement will be.

You can ask for a State Pension forecast in three ways:

  • Online: at GOV.UK website (you’ll need create an account to prove your identity and be under State Pension age)
  • By calling: 0800 731 0175
  • By post: by completing a form BR19 (which you can either complete online and print off or print and then hand write). Get the form from the GOV.UK website The address is on the front of the form

If you have gaps in your National Insurance record, you might be able to pay Voluntary National Insurance Contributions to increase your State Pension entitlement.

It’s worth speaking to a specialist at the Future Pension Centre call 0800 731 0175 to discuss your options and the cost of making these contributions.

Pension tracing

If you’ve changed jobs several times over the years, you might want to see if you have any old pensions you’ve lost track of.

To help you look for a lost workplace pension, and if you know the name of the employer or pension scheme, you can contact the Pension Tracing Service. They have an online directory you can use to search for contact details.

You might be able to go back to your old employer to find the contact details of the pension scheme you’re looking to trace.

Companies House is a good place to check for your old employer’s contact details if they’ve moved or changed names since you left employment.

Where to get more information and advice

If you need more help, especially if you’re investing money, you can speak to a regulated financial adviser who will go through your options and help you choose the best one for you.

You will have to pay for financial advice, but advisers must go through their fees and charges with you before you commit.

It’s worth speaking to at least three firms and ask about their charges for this type of advice.

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Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

Continue to website
Looking for us? Now, we’re MoneyHelper

MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
impartial help for all your money and pension choices.
Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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