January 2014; Three quarters of women fear the struggle to survive in old age over pension uncertainty
Three-quarters of women fear they will struggle to get by when they reach retirement age because their current income is too low for a decent pension, a study shows. Research also showed widespread confusion among working age women over the effect of changes to the pension system and the rising retirement age. The study by the Pensions Advisory Service found that almost four in 10 women did not know when they would be able to draw their pension, because of changes to the qualifying age, and six in 10 had no idea if they had paid enough National Insurance.
Overall, it showed that seven in 10 did not feel confident about making decisions when saving for retirement. Meanwhile 76 per cent do not believe they will have enough income to be financially comfortable once stopping work.
Around 40 million people currently of working age will receive the new single-tier pension, which is due to come into effect in 2016, simplifying the state pension arrangements. It will run alongside the Government’s landmark plans to automatically enrol people into workplace pensions.
Michelle Cracknell, chief executive of the Pensions Advisory Service said: “The odds of women being able to provide for a comfortable retirement are stacked against them from the start. “Women are much more likely than men to have career breaks, work part-time and have low-paid service sector jobs. “The price they pay is an incomplete state pension in their own right and not much, if any, private pension to add to it.” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10592474/Three-quarters-of-women-fear-struggle-to-survive-in-old-age-over-pension-uncertainty.html
April 2014; Government to give life expectancy estimates with pensions advice
Pensions minister Steve Webb has announced plans to give retirees rough estimates of their life expectancy as part of pensions advice from April 2015.
Specialist pensions experts will calculate how long older people have to live, based on their gender, lifestyle and location. The move is a reaction to concerns people will be irresponsible with their pensions, now that there are fewer restrictions around withdrawing their pot in one go.
The news comes a day after Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures revealed people in the UK are living longer, but stark regional contrasts persist. The area with the highest life expectancy is Purbeck in Dorset, where the average woman will now live to 86.6. The figure is 82.9 years for a man in the same region.
In Glasgow life expectancy is 72.6 for men and 78.5 for women.
Webb highlighted this geographical contrast, along with lifestyle considerations, as one of the main reasons behind the policy.
“The idea is that you come to think about retiring, but you don’t know how long that retirement is going to be,” he said. “My idea is to say to somebody, look, someone of your generation, living in this part of the country, you’ve not smoked, you could easily live for 27 years.”
Webb added the consultations would not be bespoke, but based on a chart for people with similar circumstances. He also said the Government was conscious the consultations should not be “crass and insensitive”. http://www.hrmagazine.co.uk/hro/news/1143568/government-life-expectancy-estimates-pensions-advice
February 2014; The new state pension winners and losers – and what you can do about it
Single-tier pension winners;
• People who contracted out into a personal pension.
• The self-employed. Currently they are only entitled to the basic state pension of £110.15. Under the new system they will get the full £147 provided they notch up 35 qualifying years.
• Women and part-time workers. Broken work histories and low part-time earnings have meant many have not built up full state pension in the past.
Single-tier pension losers
• People who have never contracted out of the state system.
• Young people. Losses increase over time: someone aged 49 on £26,000 a year will be £29 a week worse off, while someone in their mid-30s will be £40 a week worse off by the time they retire, according to the TUC.
• Existing pensioners. Anyone who reaches state pension before 5 April 2016 will be excluded from the single-tier pension. Some could have got more under the new rules
You win and you lose.
• People in private-sector final salary schemes that are contracted out will get more state pension but will pay more national insurance. Employees currently contracted out will see an increase of 1.4% in their NI contributions from 2016 because their schemes will become contracted in.
What can you do
So if you are a pension loser, is there anything you can do about it? Find out what you have built up so far, so you can work out how much more you need to save. To receive an estimate of your future state pension go to; https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-statement
Think about buying extra years. Millions of people may be able to buy up to £25 a week of extra state pension. It is aimed at pensioners and those due to reach state pension age before April 2016, and will allow people to swap a cash lump sum for extra state pension worth between £1 and £25 a week. It is suggested pensioners will be allowed to pay from £900 to as much as £25,000 to top up their pension.
You may be entitled to top up your state pension with voluntary national insurance contributions (NICs). The 2014/2015 top-up is expected to be around £850 for standard class 3 voluntary NICs. However, you have to be eligible. Those entitled to pay class 3 voluntary NICs include everyone who has reached state pension age (though you can only pay for the past six years), plus some other groups. For more information; https://www.gov.uk/voluntary-national-insurance-contributions/who-can-pay-voluntary-contributions http://www.theguardian.com/money/2014/feb/10/state-pension-winners-losers-single-tier
January 2015; Fewer than half retirees will receive full state pension
The government has admitted that fewer than half of all pensioners will receive the full £150-a-week new “flat rate” state pension from 2016 despite promises by the work and pensions secretary, Iain Duncan Smith that it will give workers “clarity” about their retirement income. In response to a freedom of information request, the Department for Work and Pensions said only 45% of the 3.5 million people who will retire between 2016 and 2020 will receive the full £150 a week.
The new single-tier pension will from April 2016 replace the existing two-part system of basic state pension plus the state second pension (also known as Serps). A final figure for the combined pensions will be released nearer to the date of introduction, but is expected to be around £150 a week. However it is confirmed that because millions of workers are “contracted out”, they will not be entitled to the full amount.
Under contracting out, employees used a rebate of national insurance contributions to build up a separate private pension pot. Others, such as mothers and the self-employed, have frequently failed to build up a sufficiently long national insurance record to qualify for the full amount. Under the new system, employees will need to have 35 years’ of NI contributions to obtain a full pension, compared to 30 before. The figures reveal that one in three retiring workers will be paid a state pension of no more than £133.56 a week rather than the £150 many have been led to expect.
A pensions advisor said: It is imperative individuals receive a proper state pension forecast. Without this, they could get a nasty shock when they do reach state pension age.” It is possible to obtain an estimate of the state pension you will get at retirement from, https://www.gov.uk/state-pension-statement which also has information on how to pay in extra now to qualify for the full pension. The government says you are more likely to be contracted out – and therefore not eligible for the full new state pension – if you work in public sector organisations such as the NHS, local councils, the civil service or in teaching; http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/jan/12/half-pensioners-full-state-pension-government
January 2015; Less than half British retirees to get full pension
The UK government admits that less than half of all British pensioners will receive their full £150-a-week state pension from 2016. The Department for Work and Pensions says only 45% of the 3.5 million people who will retire between 2016 and 2020 will receive the full annuity. The new single-tier pension will from April 2016 replace the existing two-part system of basic state pension plus the state second pension (also known as Serps).
Now Rodney Shakespeare, a London-based professor of economy and political commentator, believes the pension system is being manipulated. “The pension system is part of a general cutback in state benefits of one source and another. Behind this is a collapse of the real economy, and that is because the UK system like that of Europe and in the Western system generally does not put any money supply into productive capacity. It only puts it into the banks and those who have existing assets and it all ends up in a sucking up of wealth to the one percent.”
“Just about half of the people who are retiring in the next year or two are going to have much less in state pension and they had been conned and they had been deceived. They were allowed in the past, in addition to their taxes not to pay an element of the national insurance pension contribution,” Shakespeare went on to say. Under the new system, employees will need to have 35 years’ of National Insurance (NI) contributions to obtain a full pension, compared to 30 before. The figures reveal that one in three retiring workers will be paid a state pension of no more than £133.56 a week rather than the £150 many have been led to expect. http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/01/12/392794/UK