Why it’s never too late to plan your pension

5 minutes

Left your pension until the last moment? Don’t panic, if you act now then you can still save enough for a fun rather than frugal retirement.

Personal finance journalist Felicity Hannah (@FelicityHannah) reveals why it’s never a bad time to start saving for your retirement.

  • It's never too late or too early to start saving
  • Five of the best ways to boost your pot

Now is always a good time when it comes to planning your future

Focus for your finances

If you’re in your 20s or 30s, you may be clearing debt, paying rent or saving to buy a home. High childcare bills and mortgage repayments could also be taking a pretty significant chunk of your wages. And this isn’t even taking into account saving for holidays, gifts or something special for yourself.

If you’ve reached your 40s or 50s with little or no pension savings and you’re concerned that it’s too late to start, don’t worry – there’s still time to act.

Plenty of ways to save

If that does sound like you then don’t despair – there are plenty of ways you can boost your retirement savings, and plenty of time to do it.

If you are turning 40 this year you still have at least 27 years before the government thinks you’re ready to receive your state pension and retire. 

The Pensions Advisory Service aims to  reassures savers, no matter their age: ‘If you’re young, and at the beginning of your career, you have many years ahead of you during which the money you save can grow through investments. If you’re older and think it’s too late, it’s good to know that you will also benefit from the tax-relief on your contributions and investment growth.

Whatever your age, there are steps you can take that will make a real difference to your retirement.

The pensions savings goal

So, how much are you likely to need when you retire and what do you need to put aside each month to make sure you have that?

Many experts believe your ideal pension contribution is determined by your age. They suggest halving the age you are when you join a pension scheme – and contributing that percentage of your pre-tax wage.

Others have encouraged workers to build a retirement pot worth 10 times their average career salary. There’s also a theory that putting away 12.5% of your monthly pay is a useful benchmark.

Deciding how much to put into a pension also comes down to a number of other factors which you should consider.

You may want to think about how much pension income you think you'll need to retire to help plan for a comfortable retirement. 

The older you are, the tougher it can feel to get saving. But there are lots of ways you can increase what you put aside.

Five ways to boost your retirement savings

1. Work a bit longer

The rules about retirement have changed. Your employer cannot force you out of the door once you reach pension age; you’re allowed to keep working.

And, although you can collect your state pension at 67 if you qualify, you don’t have to take it. You can work a little longer and keep saving into your pension pot – plus, you’ll receive a higher state pension when you are ready to retire.

If you want to start enjoying your retirement but still have a source of income, you could even consider a phased retirement plan. For late pension savers, postponing retirement could be the key to a wealthier retirement – you don’t even have to stay at the same job.

2. Sign up to the right pension scheme

If you’re in work and not self-employed, enrolling in your employer’s pension scheme, or staying in it when you have been auto-enrolled, is vital.

Your employer is obliged by law to pay into your pension as well as you and that’s all topped up by tax relief.

Your employer’s pension provider might also offer different pension plans for employees, as well as the auto-enrol scheme, so do some research into which is right for you.

3. An extra source of income

Instead of staying in your job after retirement, why don’t you set up your own business? If there’s something that you’re passionate about, retirement might be just the time to explore that passion. Over-50 entrepreneurs are on the rise, and many of them started because they wanted to spend their retirement doing something they enjoy – they never expected to make any money out of it.

Alternatively, if your children have left home and you have a spare room, you could take in a lodger and earn up to £7,500 a year tax-free.

4. Enlist a pension specialist

LV= have helped thousands of people just like you to plan for their future – and helped them achieve a retirement that’s as much about fun than frugality.

Our pensions experts help make sure you can love retirement rather than worry about it. Call our pension specialists now for a free chat about you and your pension goals, or to answer any questions you might have about your options.


5. Tracking down lost pensions

As part of your chat, your pension expert will recommend that you track down any of your lost pensions.

Pension funds worth around £400m are still sitting unclaimed, according to the Department for Work & Pensions, so you could be missing out on a considerable sum.

As well as contacting one of our specialists, read our article about lost pensions for the steps to finding your missing retirement funds.

If you’re wondering whether to get in touch with our pension experts then remember: it’s never too late to start your pension planning. However, whether you’re 25 or 52, it’s a good idea to start now.

Check out our guide how on to boost your retirement income for more handy tips


[1] Paul Davis, 2018. How much do I need to save into a pension? Which?  -