Help me understand pensions

Lady sitting in her living room, deep in thought about her approaching retirement.


Julie Hutchison

15th June 2015 at 3:09pm

Understanding pensions

Do you have a bag full of various pension plans you’ve picked up along the way from different jobs or do you just find understanding pensions in general difficult?

Or have you yet to start saving into a pension, perhaps because you’re self-employed and just haven’t got round to it?

Help is at hand. I know how you feel. Until a few years ago, I hadn’t much of a clue about pensions and only started to save into one because my dad told me it was a good idea.

And there’s food for thought for women in particular. According to the Women and Money report from SavvyWoman, 33% of women said they didn’t know the age at which they’d be able to retire. This was more than double the percentage of men (15%). As I wrote about in a recent blog, there is a pension gender gap that needs to be bridged.

I’m concerned that so many women don’t feel sure of their financial future. This says to me there’s more that women can do to take control of their finances. Financial freedom comes from really understanding how to make your money work for you, and knowledge is the starting point on that journey.

Generation X’ers

For Generation X’ers like me who were born between the mid-1960s and mid-1980s, how can we use the years ahead of us to be smart with our money and make the most of tax breaks for saving? It all starts by demystifying pensions and seeing them as an online pot of money which has some special rules around access. Simple? It can be, but there might be some tidying-up needed to help you get there.

Two simple steps

If you already have a pension, here are two simple steps you can take to understand more about what you have:

  1. Track down your most recent annual statement
  2. Find out if you can use online services to log-in and view your pension savings. If your pension’s with Standard Life, you can register for online services to view your pension here.

Establishing a clear starting point and going online so your savings are at your fingertips will help you begin taking control of what’s where.

This blog and any responses to comments are not financial advice. A pension is an investment. Its value can go up and down and it may be worth less than you paid in.

Share your thoughts

Join the conversation and follow us on twitter @StandardLifeUK and Facebook and feel free to ask about any of the issues you have understanding pensions.