When it comes to saving for retirement, it’s important to think long-term – after all, building a decent pension pot and reaching your retirement goals will likely take a number of years. Now, like any serious relationship, keeping the spark alive with your pension can require some work. Here’s a few things you could do to nurture your long-term relationship with your pension pots.
Organise date nights
If you want to keep the fire alive with your pension, you may want to make some time for it. So, turn off Netflix, pour yourself a glass of wine (or water – whatever tickles your fancy), and get to know your pension savings again. Chances are you may have forgotten what you’ve already got. To maintain a healthy relationship with your retirement savings, it could pay off to organise occasional ‘rendezvous’ with your pots. If you have a state pension and a workplace pension, then you could spend some time looking at how much you’ve got saved.
To review your state pension, you’ll simply need to log in to HMRC: https://www.gov.uk/check-national-insurance-record. Remember, to receive the full state pension, you’ll need at least 35 years’ worth of national insurance contributions. If you find out you’re a bit behind, don’t panic, you can check with HMRC how many years you need to catch up on and whether you’re eligible to pay voluntary contributions.
With your workplace pension, you’ll need to check with your provider directly – if you don’t know who they are, again don’t worry, HMRC is here to help. Simply fill in their online form with your details and they’ll let you know where your pension is: https://www.gov.uk/find-pension-contact-details.
For successful date nights (and reviewing), make sure you have your goals in mind. Knowing what you want to achieve will help you measure your progress and take the right decisions.
Don’t take things for granted
Over the years, it’s very easy to take things for granted, but successful relationships take hard work and dedication to blossom. It’s important to remain attentive and find ways to keep boosting your retirement savings. For instance, if you have several workplace pensions floating around, it could be a good idea to review them and perhaps bring them together if you want to. Consolidating your pensions and getting everything in a single scheme could make things a bit easier to manage, and if you happen to find a provider offering cheaper fees, then you could be keeping more of your returns.
Also, if the situation allows it, you could look to increase your workplace pension contributions As things currently stand, you have to contribute at least 5% of your pay and your employer should pay a minimum of 3% of your salary, but if you can afford it (and want to do it), you could contribute a bit more into your pension pot.
Spice things up
If things aren’t quite right, then you may want to try new things. There isn’t just one way to boost your retirement savings – in fact, if you want to retire comfortably, solely relying on your state and workplace pensions might not be enough. Luckily, there are other options available that could help you reach your goals – we’re talking, for example, about personal pensions.
Also known as SIPPs (Self-Invested Personal Pensions), these pensions are designed to give you more control and flexibility over your retirement savings. Not only can you choose how much you want to pay into your pot, you’ll also receive 20% tax relief on each contribution you make. One thing to note is that the amount you’ll get tax relief on is limited to £40,000 per tax year, or 100% of your income (whichever is lower) – this includes all your contributions plus tax relief. Having a personal pension, in addition to your state and workplace pensions, could help boost your future income.
Stay calm and think long-term
If you want to maintain a healthy and happy relationship with your retirement savings, it’s important to try and keep your nerves. Things may not always go as smoothly as you hope. Throughout your journey, you may experience some turbulence and performance may go up and down. Although these fluctuations can be scary, it’s part and parcel of investing and you’ll need to learn to live with the occasional downturns.
The good news is that long-term investing can help you ride out the bumps. The even better news is that everything you put in your pension is locked in for quite a long time. Most workplace and personal pensions will let you access your savings once you turn 55, which means, depending on when you started putting money aside, that your pots could benefit from the power of compounding. Compounding is when your profits, if re-invested, start generating further profits. By committing for the long-term and assuming the environment is favourable, your retirement savings could snowball over time.
Ask for help
Now, if you’re finding it hard to work on your relationship, you can always ask for help. There are experts out there who are happy to do the investing for you. Say, you want to boost your retirement savings by opening a personal pension. You don’t need to do it all by yourself if you don’t feel like it. There are many online investment platforms that will help. With Wealthify, setting up a personal pension has never been easier. Simply choose how much you want to invest and select your investment style – we’ll do the rest, from picking your investments to managing your Wealthify Pension on an ongoing basis. Once you’re all set up, you’ll be able to check how your pension is doing at anytime, anywhere. If you’ve heard enough and think Wealthify could be a match made in heaven, then why not use our ‘Create a Plan’ feature to see how much your retirement savings could grow with an investment style that’s right for you?
The tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances and may be subject to change in the future.
Please remember the value of your investments can go down as well as up, and you could get back less than invested.