/ Money

What are your pension worries?

A gold egg in the grass

A raft of recent news stories about people with inadequate pension savings warn of the tough futures they could face. But is it worth getting a pension? And how do you get started if you fear you’ve left it too late?

Pension stories are a regular fixture on the front pages. In the past few weeks alone it’s been claimed that half of UK women don’t have savings for retirement, and there’s been news that annuity rates have fallen to an all-time low.

It doesn’t feel like an exaggeration to say that there’s a general sense of alarm surrounding the issue. People worry that they haven’t saved enough, and are concerned that they’ll have a poor income in retirement, despite their efforts to save.

What’s the point of a pension?

Others have so little faith in the system that they don’t see the point of a pension at all, and would rather put their spare cash into property or Isas.

Which? Money experts argue that it’s crucial to start saving for retirement as early as possible. This way your pension pot has longer to grow, and the power of compound interest should mean your monthly contributions multiply in value many times over. But what if student debts mean you can’t afford a mortgage, let alone a pension plan?

And what if you’ve already hit middle age and are yet to start retirement planning? Is it too late to start a pension at 40, and – if not – just how much cash will you need to put by each month in order to make saving worthwhile?

Tell us your pension questions

We’ll be talking about pensions on next Wednesday’s Which? Money podcast – and we’d like to hear from you. Pensions expert Ian Robinson will be responding to Which? Conversation comments and questions in the podcast, so please tell us your thoughts and concerns about pensions and planning for a comfortable retirement.



I have a good pension – In fact a minor reason for taking my job was because of the good pension. It is in the public sector – In fact I paid a higher percentage of my salary to that pension fund. The pay and conditions of my job were worse than the private sector.

But the number of people in the private sector who are NOW jealous of my pension – calling it a “golden pension” – yet it is very similar to their original final salary pension schemes – actually want my pension rights reduced to their level – is enormous.- according to several public forums.

I also saved regularly towards my retirement or “a rainy day” for many years – unlike many..- Called “living within my means” – .these same people want my statuary pension that I also paid for – stopped – “as I don’t need it”.

The problem has been that since the Tories first removed the wages link to pensions – my pension hasn’t kept up with the real cost of living. Even now the Condems have not reinstated it back to where it was.

Am I comfortable? NO – because my savings income have been hit very hard by the reduction in the interest rate – down to TEN percent of what it was before – Yet present mortgage holders are raking it in – whereas I had to pay FIFTEEN percent.when interest rates were high.

One last point – why should someone pay for a pension or save – when if they don’t – they get credits and benefits anyway to pay their living costs.

Not to mention if you have some money – long term health care is taken OUT of your savings until you are at the same level as those that don’t pay at all. It has become not worth it – I’m penalised for being prudent.

Hi Richard we’re featuring your post on the podcast at http://www.which.co.uk/podcasts/ It’ll be live on Wednesday.

Please note typo – I meant Condems have NOT reinstated it back to where it was. I wish this forum had an edit facility.

I’m in my late 30s and self employed. I have a (pretty small) Isa and a mortgage on my home but no pension. Private pensions seem like a waste of time when you don’t have an employer helping you out so I’ve never bothered to get one.
I’ve been considering buying a workshop for work purposes (I’m a carpenter), some of which could potentially be offset against tax and then I have a big asset when I retire. Would this kind of plan be a better way to save for my retirement or is old-fashioned saving better?
Also, whenever I get chunks of money I tend to pay off my mortgage rather than put it in my Isa – to my mind this is a more efficient way of using my money – am I right?

Research by Aviva has found that Britain has the largest pension gap in Europe, between what workers are setting aside and what they actually need to.

“Overall, workers are saving £317.5billion a year too little into pensions. On an individual level, it was estimated people aged 50 need to boost their pension saving by an average of £6,200 a year, while those in their 40s need to increase it by £3,100.

“People in their 20s and 30s have longer to save but even these age groups need to set aside £1,300 and £1,800, respectively, more each year than they currently do.”


I’m not sure how possible that’s going to be…