/ 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?


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.

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.

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

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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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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

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.

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?

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

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.

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.

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

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