From starting your first job to approaching retirement, here’s what you need to know about your pension at life’s biggest moments.
It's never too early to start a pension fund, even though other saving (or spending) options may seem more attractive.
A personal pension has significant benefits and is worth considering alongside other saving strategies. Those benefits include:
There is a minimum contributions amount that employers have to pay into pensions, but that is also soon set to change. In the words of the government:
‘In April 2019 the contribution rate rises again to a total of 8 per cent, of which the employer must contribute at least 3 per cent and the state contributes 1 per cent through tax relief .’ 
If you’re married, or in a civil partnership, you might be eligible for an extra £75.50 per week in state pension payments when you retire, through your spouse’s or civil partner’s National Insurance contributions.
You can find out if you’re eligible on the government’s website.
If you’re under 75 when you pass away, whatever is in your pension can be withdrawn tax-free by your beneficiary. The Pension Wise website has more information.
In a divorce, your personal pension is considered as an asset, which can be split between the two parties in a number of ways. In Scotland, only the value of the pensions accrued during the marriage is considered; in the rest of the UK, the pension you built up before your marriage is also taken into account.
The options available in the whole of the UK include:
There are two more options – deferred pension sharing and deferred lump sum – which are available everywhere except Scotland. Read more about divorce and pensions on the Money Advice Service website.
If you’re approaching the state pension age, it’s time to assess your retirement and what you are going to do with your pension.
‘You can usually take up to 25% of the amount built up in any pension as a tax-free lump sum,’ says the government website. ‘The tax-free lump sum doesn’t affect your Personal Allowance.’
Surprisingly, people aged 65 and over make up the smallest percentage of people making or receiving contributions from a personal pension. That’s even though over 10.2% of them are still working .
Whatever stage of life you’re at, thinking about your pension can help set you up for a more enjoyable retirement. It’s also a good idea to consider your savings, including your pension, at big life moments – like marriage, changing career or having a child. If your life changes, then your finances may have to change to reflect that, including how you contribute to your pension.
 Department for Work and Pensions, 2017. Automatic Enrolment Review 2017: Analytical Report. GOV.UK https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/668657/automatic-enrolment-review-2017-analytical-report.pdf
 Department for Work and Pensions, 2017. Automatic Enrolment Evaluation Strategy. GOV.UK, https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/667379/automatic-enrolment-evaluation-strategy.pdf
 Office for National Statistics, 2019. Labour market statistics time series, https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/employmentandemployeetypes/datasets/labourmarketstatistics