• Pensions

    I want to stash some extra cash in my pension before the end of the tax year - what's the best way to do it?

    Deadline looming: What's the best way to top up your pension before the end of the tax yearI want to top up my pension to get the most out of this year's £40,000 annual allowance for tax relief.I’ve paid very little into a pension through my working life but built up a big pot of cash savings.There's not much time left before April 6, so what should I do and are there any pitfalls I should avoid?Ian Browne, a pensions expert at Old Mutual Wealth, replies:  Tax year end is fast approaching, but there is still time to make the ...

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  • Pensions

    What's an 'acceptable' pension pot to retire on? Can I use some of it now to buy a house? Steve Webb replies

    Housing ladder: Can you use your pension savings to buy a home?I realise this is a very broad question, and one which will depend on a number of factors, but I wonder if you have a view on what would constitute an acceptable pension fund heading into retirement.I'm 45 this year, and don't own a house (my ex-wife has it), but I have a fair sized amount saved in a few different pension plans.I'm trying to decide whether to reduce pension contributions and put money into getting on the housing ladder instead.Also, is there a way to use my ...

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  • Pensions

    Pension firms must start pushing rivals' best annuity deals from today, just as rates finally start creeping up

    Pension firms must give annuity buyers the top rival quote on the market to help them avoid shoddy deals under new rules starting today.Savers will have to be told the difference between a provider's own offer and the best available one - in pounds and pence annual income - from a comparison tool covering every firm in the market. Annuities allow savers to exchange pension pots for a guaranteed income in retirement, but poor value deals and evidence of mis-selling uncovered by regulators have given them a bad name. Annuity deals: Rates are low after years of rock bottom interest rates, rising ...

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  • Pensions

    Do I have any rights to pension money from a job I held for three months in 1984? Steve Webb replies

    I have come across old pay slips for a job I had in 1984. This employment was for a short duration of just three months but my then employer deducted a princely sum of £45.30 in total and as far as I can recall, they never refunded it.The government’s pension tracing service enabled me to find out the name of the company which administered the scheme, but as the amount involved is so small, I am not sure what to ask for, what department to ask for or indeed whether it is even worth pursuing?Do I have any rights to this ...

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  • Pensions

    Top pension tips for married couples: How to make sure you get all the benefits you're entitled to - and make the most of your retirement pot

    It may not seem like a grand romantic gesture, but making sure your spouse is financially comfortable in retirement, will go a long way towards securing your future happiness together.The pension pay gap remains significant with 33 per cent of men expected to retire with just the state pension compared to 53 per cent of women, meaning many wives are reliant on their husbands for a financial top up. On average UK men have £73,600 saved in a pension pot and women have just £24,900.So with Valentine's Day upon us there is no better time for married couples to review ...

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  • Pensions

    One in five workers retires with £34K of debts as many dig deep for their offspring's house deposits and uni fees

    One in five people retiring this year will be weighed down by debts worth an average £33,900, new research reveals.That's a 40 per cent higher debt pile than last year - although the annual figure tends to be volatile, after soaring to £38,200 in 2012 but falling to £18,800 in 2016.Grandparents are racking up debt trying to help children with house deposits and grandchildren with university fees, according to Prudential which has surveyed retirees about their borrowings since 2011. Retiring in debt: Some 38 per cent of this year's retirees who are in debt are still paying off mortgagesIt's also possible ...

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  • Pensions

    Am I entitled to a £200 a week state pension after paying National Insurance for 51 years? Steve Webb replies

    I have paid full National Insurance for coming up to 48 years, and when I retire at 66 I will have paid for 51 years. (I'm a woman born in the 1950s who has been robbed of her state pension at the age of 60.)I note that in previous articles about the old and new state pensions, you say that the final pension you get will be based on the *higher* of two amounts calculated under the two systems.So for example, someone who had 44 years of contributions and might have got a state pension under the old rules of ...

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  • Pensions

    Will annuity rates recover in 2018? After years of decline a 'good Brexit' could boost pensioners' income, says industry expert

    Incomes from annuities have been in the doldrums for the last 10 years and are still at historically low levels, writes pensions expert Billy Burrows of financial adviser Better Retirement.However, there are signs that rates could finally start to increase in 2018 and their popularity grow once again.Annuities used to be incredibly popular. After all if you don’t have a final salary pension, they are the only retirement products that guarantee an income for life, with no risk of running out of money.  Retirement decision: Savers have shunned annuities in recent years in favour of staying invested and drawing down ...

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  • Pensions

    Why do my heirs only pay tax on my pension left to them if I die after my 75th birthday? Steve Webb replies

    Could you possibly explain to me the reasoning behind the tax law that allows pension monies to be claimed tax free by the heirs or beneficiaries of the pensioner if they die under the age of 75 but the monies become taxable if the pensioner dies after the age of 75?SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT HOW TO ASK YOUR PENSION QUESTION     Happy birthday: Your heirs have to shell out tax on your pension fund if you live beyond 75, but how did this rule come about?Steve Webb replies: To understand the rationale for the way pension pots are taxed on death, ...

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  • Pensions

    How to invest for the best returns in retirement: Reckless risk-taking or playing too safe can run your pot dry

    Many retirees are at risk of bungling their pension finances by falling into one of two easily avoidable traps, according to new research.A 'risk-averse retiree' who believes they are playing it safe by moving pension funds into cash accounts and a 'reckless retiree' who chases high returns are both at risk of running out of money in old age, says the study.Pension firm Royal London shows how easily you can fritter away a £100,000 pension pot in either of these ways, then explains how a 'rational retiree' with well-diversified investments has a much better chance of enjoying a comfortable retirement.SCROLL ...

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  • Pensions

    The Government is churning out wrong state pension forecasts - shouldn't they come with a warning? Steve Webb replies

    Millions of people get state pension forecasts from the Department for Work and Pensions, and rely on their accuracy when planning their finances in retirement.This week, a reader flags up a case where her husband's forecast was wrong, and calls on This is Money's pensions columnist Steve Webb to warn others their statements might be incorrect. Read full details of David and Kim Deabill's case and what the DWP said about the accuracy of forecasts here. State pension forecast: This is Money reader flags up case where a statement was wrong and asks for warnings to be addedMy husband asked for a state ...

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  • Pensions

    My wife wants to keep our house while I get my pension in divorce, but I need somewhere to live - what should I do?

    My wife and I are soon to have a 'clean break' divorce. Her lawyer is wanting me to sign over the house in its entirety that I have paid for all my working life in exchange for not touching my pension.My pension will not help me get my own property to live in until I retire as I would be too old to acquire a mortgage.If I offer her half my pension fund then she dies before I am in receipt of the pension, is that portion allocated to her lost to the government and not returnable to my pension ...

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  • Pensions

    Can my husband's ex-wife claim on his state pension, and would this reduce what he gets? Steve Webb replies

    My husband is in receipt of his state pension and I will receive mine in my own right in a few years’ time.His ex-wife won’t have enough contributions for a full pension so will she be able to make a claim on my husband’s pension? If she can, will this affect the amount that he receives?SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT HOW TO ASK YOUR PENSION QUESTION      Retirement finances: Can an ex-partner claim on your state pension, and would this reduce your payouts?Steve Webb replies: Under the state pension system as it existed until 5 April 2016, it was possible for ...

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  • Pensions

    I didn't seek a financial settlement on divorce because my ex-husband was threatening my life - can I try to get one now?

    I need to claim from my ex-husband's private pension. I am 64. I have been divorced since 1992 with no child support or divorce settlement due to domestic violence.He threatened my life. I had an injunction with the power of arrest until I was divorced. Pension sharing: Can you still make a claim against an ex if you didn't get a financial settlement when you divorced?Tanya Jefferies, of This is Money, replies: I am terribly sorry to hear about your situation. It is understandable that you did not try to get a financial settlement when you divorced, given the difficult ...

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  • Pensions

    Earning the UK average salary? You need a £300,000 pension pot to keep your standard of living in retirement

    A person on the UK average salary now needs to build up a pension pot of over £300,000 to be able to maintain their current lifestyle in retirement, analysis has shown.The study by Aegon assumes that people should be targeting an income equivalent 66 per cent of their working age income, which is £1,500 a month or £18,000 a year for the average earner.The state pension, at £691 a month, would therefore need to be topped up by £809 per month from private and workplace pensions to hit such a goal.  Old habits: To keep doing what you love might ...

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