/ Money

Update: do you know if your retirement plans are on track?

Pension saving

Our research has found that nearly half of those over 50 aren’t sure of the value of their pension. But knowing these details is vital for making informed retirement decisions. So do you know what’s in your pension pot?

Gone are the days when people worked for one company all their life. In fact, the Government estimated in 2011 that on average people will work for 11 employers during their lifetime.

With the introduction of auto-enrolment for workplace pensions that means more and more of us will retire with multiple pension pots. For what it’s worth, I’ve got three different pensions so far.

Keeping a track of your pension can be difficult, but this is pretty critical information when you’re planning how to turn those savings into a retirement income. So how can things be improved for savers?

Tracking your pension using the pensions dashboard

Imagine if you could go online, securely, and – maybe using your national insurance number – see all the information about your pension pots and savings, alongside your state pension forecast.

Well it’s not impossible; these types of pension dashboards already exist in Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.

When we asked people approaching retirement age how much they knew about what they’d saved, four in 10 found said they it difficult to keep track of their retirement funds. And a fifth said they wouldn’t know how to find out this information.

But that’s no surprise really when you think that currently you need to keep the paperwork from all your different pension providers, update them all when you move house, or try to remember if you had a pension with that firm you worked for 20 years ago…

Keep it simple for savers

A pensions dashboard could house all this information in one easily accessible place. It could give people a complete picture of their retirement fund and, in turn, help them make informed choices. It might also help engage people with their pensions while they’re still working.

We’re now calling on the Government to commit to the testing and introduction of a pensions and savings dashboard without delay. The regulator has previously said that it would work towards this in the longer term, and the pensions industry is supportive too.

Update: 12 September 2016

Earlier this year, the Treasury backed our call for a Pensions Dashboard. Within the Chancellor’s Budget, plans were announced for the free-to-use online dashboard to be delivered by the pensions industry by 2019.

The Treasury has now announced that 11 pension providers have joined together, in a scheme managed by the Association of British Insurers, to build a prototype of the dashboard.

The long-awaited Pensions Dashboard will see a beta version ready by March 2017, with the dashboard due to be available to the public by 2019.

Do you know how much is in your retirement savings? Do you think a dashboard like this could help you with tracking your pension?

Comments
Guest
D Fisher says:
10 March 2016

This is an excellent idea. I retired towards the end of last year and had spent at least the prior two years attempting to track down the value of my pension entitlements in order to establish that my planned retirement date would be feasible. This proved to be very difficult. Pensions administrators had been changed without any notification to me, and trying to get a clear statement of my entitlement at a point in time proved to be difficult. The difficulties of getting an aggregated picture were much greater than I had anticipated.

The state pension situation was also very unclear, and this in particular was unacceptable. For a long time we were told that it would be a flat rate of about £7200 per year from 2016 and then suddenly we are told that this is not the case for many people and ther4e will now be a taper depending on the level of NI contributions.

The production of a dashboard would certainly help people realise that they need to plan for retirement much earlier. I have tried to explain to my children why they need to have some plans in place, but unless they are presented with actual personalised information they find it difficult to understand their current position. Keep pushing this!

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Guest

It’s certainly very confusing so assessing my pension looms large as a very big job to get my head around everything. As I am busy, that just means that a pensions review just gets put off and in the meantime the retirement date creeps closer and closer. A dashboard is a superb idea to help. It would make things easier, so help with not putting the matter off. It would include government pension levels where I too am unclear about the rules. It would also make planning easier since it would show when best to retire and the impact of things like delaying taking pension. A great idea and since some other countries are already doing it, the government wouldn’t be starting from scratch with this. Bring it on HMG … quickly please!

Guest
David Ibbott says:
11 March 2016

I have recently paused my state pension (“de-retired”). I only discovered I could do this because Which? Money highlighted it in an article.
My IFA and SIPP provider keeps me informed as to how my pension pot is faring.
A pension dashboard would have been very useful before retirement and would certainly benefit those still working in preparation for retirement.

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Guest

This is an excellent idea.

Guest
Gail says:
11 March 2016

Brilliant idea! It is a mine field out there, and even with projections of worth, you are still in the dark as to whether it going to be enough.

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Guest

As a civil servant with a generous final salary scheme I knew exactly how much I would get when I took early retirement.
What was very uncertain is when I bought an annuity with my AVC fund. I had to do research to find out who would give me the best deal ( turned out to be Canada Life). But when I finally chose, I was subject to variations in the stock market, and hidden charges. The total fund dropped about £3500 between completing the paper work and getting the quote. Also, annuity rates dropped markedly over the years which was beyond my control. These are my warnings about Annuities for those people currently making decisions.
Overall though, I did very well and have no money problems in retirement ( apart from having too much money to manipulate !!)

Guest
neil manson says:
12 March 2016

I had to take out two annuities before I could access my works pensions.

Guest
Lisa Mills says:
13 March 2016

It would certainly have been helpful when I was preparing to retire, I had 3 frozen pensions and each time I made inquiries, the totals were different as the stock market fluctuated. In the end, it did not bring the promised benefits as the Bank of England interest rate became virtually zero. And they say that pensioners should lose their perks as they have not had to make sacrifices as the rest of the population has! (excluding the higher earners, as they have been well looked after).

Guest
Richard Brophy says:
13 March 2016

Back in 1989 I was offered the choice of a final salary pension. Since then because of the myth that people are living longer Sainsburys decide that my pension would be suspended. We were then given the choice of a “Pensions Savings plan” which paid out less money but a donated “Compensation” for 6 months adding to my new pension plan. MY point is the original plan I was offered obviously mislead me so I should get additional compensation in cash as it’s similar to the PPI misselling ?

Guest
Helen Angus says:
14 March 2016

A great idea – I would also hope that suggested top up payments could be flagged up so you could boost your pension if necessary.

Guest
Geoff says:
14 March 2016

Excellent suggestion. I hope it can happen, and for once, be a successful on time and on budget Government IT project.

Guest
Anne says:
14 March 2016

Yes it would be great to get that estimate. For a SIPP though anything can change of course – such as the recent market falls, which will impact adversely on what you thought a few months before.
Rethe State pension, the big con of £155 per week for all ! – this needs setting out clearly. It is not necessarily the case that more NI equals more state pension though. All sorts of reasons mean that is not the case including being self employed !!

Guest
Christine Ford says:
15 March 2016

great idea fully support and myself and my husband would use this facility.

Guest
Ranjana Patel says:
16 March 2016

It would also be very helpful if we knew how much the average charges would be for financial advice.
My husband will be paying £970 approx for pension advice and for his adviser to shop around for the best annuities, as it is a minefield!!

Guest
Alf Parker says:
17 March 2016

Although I am now retired and have vested all of my pension funds I think it would be of great benefit to those still contributing to pension schemes to have access to a pension funds dashboard . Although I changed employment only twice of my own volition in the forty years prior to retirement, I contribute, at different times during that period, to eleven different pension funds. This was due to the vagaries of the regulations governing earliest of the funds, my contribution to Free Standing AVCs and employers changing their chosen pension provider.
As a result, the existence of several of the earlier funds was initially overlooked when converting the funds to annuities even though I had used the services of a Financial Adviser. Thankfully these funds eventually came to light but it illustrates the difficulties that can be encountered in keeping track of a number of pensions.

Guest
Gail Coverley says:
17 March 2016

Although it is good the pensions dashboard will be brought in 2019, I am afraid that is too late for those of us retiring in the next 3 years. I need one now!!

Guest
Geoff says:
18 March 2016

My son was caught in the “Pay more for longer, to get less out” bracket. Low paid, long serving civil servant. He simply quit working due to depression.

Guest
Robert Cormack says:
19 March 2016

I feel the rules and regulations regarding pensions are too complicated. It has been over a year now (09/03/2015) since I contacted a financial adviser, to gather all my pensions into one place, to save having to deal with several providers and all the paperwork that would involve. Over a year later (19/03/2016) I am still in limbo, while a small percentage of my pension is now where I would like it, the majority has not yet been transferred to my preferred account. I have now retired (07/02/2016) but I am unable to draw any monies from my pensions, thankfully I have a bit of savings, but I did not plan using them for everyday living. On top of this, because it has taken so long since my first company pension calculation I have had to pay out (£360) to have another re-calculation done (only guaranteed for I think it was 6 months) with only one calculation per year done at no cost.

Guest
Chris Hanley says:
22 March 2016

I wish Which could lodge a complaint with the Treasury over the multitude of changes it has made to pensions both private and public. Some changes based on demographics are accepted but when a young person is persuaded to commit to an occupational scheme, and where also he is also encouraged to go further than that and make additional contributions again encouraged to ensure he places no future burden on society, He is going to be most upset when the rules change and seek to tax amounts he has put aside in good faith at a punitive 55%, not because he has saved too much, but the’ lifetime limit’ has been brought down so low and the means of calculating it is so complicated only those working daily with these matters know how to even go about it. The treasury broke the contract with public sector pension both by putting up the cost, which had the merit of being open, and was agreed. It then used the tax system to remove the benefits in such a complex way that those, like me, coming to the end of their career find themselves they are over a limit they never knew existed, will be charged tax at 55% on the excess they never knew they had created, and until they get an expert to tell them they will not know because the calculation methods invented to calculate , utterly incomprehensible. The net effect has been for those like me in their 50s to have no idea whether by continuing to work they are exceeding this limit and will be fined, You could compare it with driving a car, and as you drive the speed limit , keeps falling, but someone has disconnected the speedometrer, You have no way of telling if you are going to be fined until you get to your destination . That is treating people with no respect

Guest
Anna Smith says:
22 March 2016

It is such a worry to think about a pension and how to get it right. I certainly believe that a dashboard where we can see at a glance all the information we need is the answer. Please, please push for one. Thank you.

Guest
Ian says:
24 March 2016

Why do investors have to pay fund providers or Independent Financial Advisors an annual % fee on funds already invested – Surely the fee should be only up front at time of investment?
% Fees linked to fund holdings and not performance guarantees an income in good and bad years to the advisor/provider only.
Is there an escape from this unfair lock in and better information to provide performance figures after all deductions?

Profile photo of malcolm r
Guest

You are, in effect, employing your IFA if they trade and manage your portfolio on your behalf. So a good one will be changing your holdings (but not churning) to meet your objectives, reinvesting the income, keep rebalancing your portfolio for riskier investments, bonds, income generators, blue chip stocks as markets change, provide you with current valuations and cash statements – doing work that you would otherwise spend time doing and providing expertise you don’t have. They could charge through trading but that would encourage unnecessary buying and selling, so I’d rather pay a known fee – providing they do a decent job for me.

If you don’t want to pay for a service then you can buy and sell yourself, or invest directly in unit trusts for example. If your fund manager does nothing, then either do it yourself or if you need assistance, find a decent IFA.

Guest
JOHN MOTTRAM says:
26 March 2016

in my opinion all Pensions should be TAX FREE, a pension should not be Classed as a Income it should just be called a Pension, You Work all your Life maybe 40 to 50 years(Like I have 50 years in industry) you pay your tax all those years, when you come to retire you don’t want to burdened with TAX, Pensions should have never ever been classed as an income in the first place, just a Pension, It’s gone on so long now it will never change, when all those that are still working they will see that they will still have to pay Tax, it is so wrong of Governments taking tax off pensioners.

Guest
Ing-Marie says:
28 March 2016

A pension dashboard would be extremely helpful. I contribute to the NHS pension scheme, on two different jobs, which makes it more difficult to find out how much I’ll actually get. I have been contributed out for part of my working life, but not all. The statepension is quite vague and to find out what I might get, I have to write to them. I also have some personal pensions that I have not contributed to for many years. And, as I am a woman in my 50th, my state pension is now 6 years later than when I made plans and decisions about my work pension. It’s a confused mess and it would be extremely helpful to have it all easily accessible in one place.

Guest
A Dalton says:
3 April 2016

I agree with John Mottram , when you have paid into the system all your working lif you should be entitled to decent pension

Guest
Mike Lynock says:
12 April 2016

I believe pensions should be tax free! The money we put in has already been taxed and now they tax it again when we take it out!

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Guest

Yes Mike , its always the 99 % thats pays tax even when their pension is all they have to live on , others can afford financial lawyers to tax havens.

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Guest

It’s not quite as straightforward as that Mike. The state retirement pension is effectively tax free because it is the same or less than the personal tax allowance. Any occupational or private pension income is taxable but some or all of the contributions might have benefitted from tax relief at the time they were made.

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Guest

I would guess that 99% of financial lawyers and tax accountants will make sure their clients pay all the taxes that are due. They might, however, recommend situations where the liabilities are lower and so long as that is legal I can see no harm in it. We might have a moral view of tax minimisation but it is up to the government to close down the opportunities.

I recall that larger-than-life character, Labour supporter, and powerful media owner Robert Maxwell who virtually created the tax avoidance industry single-handedly with hardly any official check on his conduct. No wonder others have sought to emulate him.

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Guest

The State pension is funded from tax and National Insurance contributions that has already been taken off income, not out of the income that has already been taxed.

Guest
Jennie says:
10 May 2016

As I was gathering information on my expected pension income last year, I was unable to get a state pension estimate because “I had already passed pensionable age”. I found this very odd, given that the DWP must have known my basic entitlement and how long I had deferred the payments for so should have been able to give me an accurate figure. Details of other pensions due were notified to me in the last 6 months before my retirement date, as I have ensured that my change of address was always registered with the pension departments of previous employers, but it would be useful to be able to access this information in one place rather than have it piecemeal.

Guest
Judith Cain says:
19 August 2016

I have been working since age 18. I was supposed to retire at 60 but the government changed the rules so now I have to wait another 3 years! I have paid tax and national insurance all that time and it used to be that to get the full state pension you had to have paid in for 40years. Now they have reduced this so what happens to the ‘overpayment’ I have made, do I get a refund? No apparently not, so where has the money gone I ask? This is stealing as far as I am concerned.

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Guest

Following a letter from the Prudential in which they stated my ‘Selected Retirement Date’ (SRD) was 1st September (news to me), I asked them by telephone to defer my pension by four months to coincide with my 65th birthday. They wrote to confirm they had deferred part of it accordingly (it is in two bits, ‘protected’ and ‘unprotected rights’ relating to contracting in and out), but went on to say the other part had been deferred to 2020 ‘as requested.’ I wrote back to challenge this error but have heard nothing. What I do know is that the Prudential will apply a ‘market valuation’ adjustment should I wish to transfer or (significantly) bring forward my pension. There is no explanation offered (or it is hidden away in four box files of correspondence from them) as to what this ‘market valuation’ is or how it is calculated. So the Prudential has arbitrarily and against my wishes deferred my pension until I am 75, and presumably if I try to transfer or bring it forward, will hit me with an arbitrary penalty.

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Guest

The pension dashboard is a great idea but why will it take 2 years to trial it. 3-6 months for development of this simple system seems ok. Then of course customer trials and tweaking of the code. So let’s say 6 months plus sign off that’s a 9-12 months tops. Why do we have to wait another year especially if it’s already been done in 3 countries.

Guest
Anne Henney says:
26 September 2016

I’m almost 62. I’ve worked since I was 15 and now currently working 25 hours per week since 1982
I am a widow, my late husband also worked from aged 15-53 until he passed away in 2006. I receive a small pension from my late husband’s work.

I don’t get a state pension until 2020. I’ve got superannuation but can’t touch this until I retire from my job.
I expected to receive a state pension and/or my superannuation at age 60, as Im sure this was what I signed up for, therefore I have to work.

Guest
Grofaz says:
22 October 2016

I am now nearly 70 and worked ever since i was 13 and still have to work now thanks to Gordon Brown (dear prudence) who raided our pension funds he cost me nearly 40000 and now have just a pittance left to live on .I was persuaded to opt out of the government pension and buy a private one , i did so only to be informed many years later it was not worth keeping on and to transfer back into the state pension ,were we conned ? yes .All my saving was for nothing ,and dear Gordon stole the rest of it ,So the government can bury me ,i pay no insurances ,taxes . They taxed us to death all our life and legaley robbed us

Guest
Chas Keep says:
22 October 2016

This may not be strictly relevant to this site but it’s difficult to find the right place to comment…my problem with this government is their u-turn on not allowing those of us who got locked into desperately poor annuities to cash them in next year (should have been this year). I was depending on their ‘promises’ so that I could plan my future but it would appear that the Insurance Industry has pressured the current government (with its unelected leader) into going back on its ‘promises’ leaving 5 million of us deep in the mire!Deplorable is the least of the descriptors I would apply!

Guest
Shirley says:
23 October 2016

I started work at 17 , started a defined benefits pension at 20, but was persuaded to transfer that (after 15 years ) into a private pension, am still contributing into a private pension 43 years later while my former colleagues have all retired on their defined benefit pension well before 60.

I will receive a state pension in 2022. I won’t get the full amount.

Luckily I enjoy my work and am lucky enough to be in full time employment. Others are not so lucky.

I do wish they would stop playing with the pension rules and regulations. It makes it so hard to plan out lives and future. They want people to take control of their pensions but make restrictions to tax relief and amounts that may be saved, at a time when the investment returns are difficult.

Guest

Early access to money that has been saved all our working lives needs to be given with sound advice. However penalties for early withdrawal on some defined benefit schemes does not seem equitable.

Guest
Steve w says:
2 January 2017

Given the current and future cost of running U.K. PLC then I would like to see the unaffordable final salary pension schemes still enjoyed by many Whitehall, MP,s and civil servants stopped! This does not mean to remove the savings and commitments already achieved but certainly does mean STOP its continued use; simply unaffordable, extremely costly as many panorama programmes have pointed out and simply unfair on the rest of us tax payers and private pension members

Guest
Commenter1 says:
3 February 2017

Desperate for which campaign to hold the government to account having withdrawn the option to sell our existing pension annuities. Pensionwise have enough complaints from annuity holders hoping to have sold theirs in 2017.

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Guest

I believe the scheme to sell annuities was not considered to be viable – the offers to buy would be unattractive. Annuities at least give certainty for those with little alternative pension provision, or lacking other resources.

The campaign we should be pushing is for women born in 1953-54 who have suddenly found themselves deprived of several years of state pension. Have those on private pensions – female MPs perhaps, or civil servants – found they cannot draw there generous pensions until several years later than expected?

Guest
Peter Curren says:
3 March 2017

I used to be a member of Which YOU And your financial advisers agreed with ME about how PHOENIX LIFE WHERE CALCULATING my pensions and not adding bonuses to plans but when it came to standing up you cried off saying they where corporate decisions WHICH THE PEOPLES CHAMPION WHITCH PEOPLE you are like the rest take the money and run

Guest
Ptsom says:
18 April 2017

To Steve W. I’m disappointed with your remarks. I for one have worked long and hard for my pittance of a final salary pension. Those of us at the bottom of the heap really are not paid that well. In fact those on minimum wage will overtake us within the next 2-3 years. By the time I do retire at 66 I will if I’m lucky have a pension of around £67 a week and by then I will have worked for over 50 years. Hardly a golden handshake but we don’t all work in Whitehall.

Guest
Vivienne Legrove says:
13 May 2017

Stop the Govement from taxing pensioners on a Rental property to top up state pension and are not claiming benifits or pension credits we are penalised for trying to care for ourselves. I am a caring responsible landlord it’s all the changes it’s getting more and more difficult to make any money as I still have a mortgage . I’m not talking people with loads of property but just one it enables me to live without being on the breadline and as I still have a Morgage I’m am not living in the lap of luxury, and when I leave the world like most people I would want to leave a small nest egg for my children and grandchildren.

Guest
S.Williams says:
4 August 2017

I had a number of jobs before settling down to one career when I was 25 years old. I worked for British Rail, Commercial Union and a number of other small firms. At the time pensions were the last thing on mine. I didn’t have the means at the time to keep all my paperwork.
I don’t known if I have any pots of pension as the jobs were between 6 months and 2 years.
I don’t even recall the dates very well. A Dashboard would be great. I wonder if there is anyway of finding out from the tax office now with only the company names????

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Guest

S. Williams -HMG have a service for checking up whether you paid into a pension scheme while you are with a company . It all depends on your contract with the company . I should know I got them to check into several London firms I worked for – sadly- no record of a pension scheme.

Guest
colin clay says:
11 August 2017

how can you give half the people access theother half not over a secret golf meeting between two minsters and the insurance companys

Profile photo of duncan lucas
Guest

Colin-Take up a temporary club membership with the club and wait at the 19th tee for them to return , get near them and record the conversation. Or get on the course next and keep hitting balls in their direction so you can get close . OR buy a Secret Service long range pickup up microphone and follow them ( yes you can buy them ) Otherwise your “snookered ” –Hang on !! Drone alert with mike+camera .