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Pensions and retirement


Ensuring you have enough money to live on in your old age is a challenge for most people, especially those who may not have been able to work until retirement age due to ill health.

  1. Pensions
  2. Other investments
  3. Benefits in retirement


There are three different types of pensions: state pensions, personal pensions, and company pensions.

State pensions

Anyone with enough National Insurance contributions can claim a state pension after reaching a certain age. The age at which you can claim this pension is 65 for men and was 60 for women born before 6 April 1950. The age at which you can claim the state pension currently remains at 65 for men and is between 60 and 65 for women born after 5 April 1950 but before 6 December 1953. If you are born between those dates you can check your pension age here. State pension age for women will reach 65 by November 2018.

Your employment history, marital status, civil partnership can all affect the amount of pension you may be entitled to. To obtain further information the following factsheet on the State Pension provides a good overview.

State Pension age for both men and women will increase to 66 by October 2020.

To help you plan you can ask for a pension forecast to see what state pension you might be entitled to. You can request this online or by post.

You may be in a position to take out a personal or a company pension earlier in your life. Usually the earlier you have investments in place, the more money you will have available to you when you retire.

Personal pensions

With this type of pension you put money in and then the pension company (which can be your bank, building society, life insurance company or investment company) invests this money on your behalf. You can decide how much money you want to put in and you will get tax relief on this. The earliest you can begin to draw a personal pension is the age of 55 (subject to plan restrictions).

Company pensions

These pensions are set up by employers for their employees. Sometimes your employer will also contribute money to your pension. You will get tax relief on the money you contribute.

Choosing a pension can feel daunting as there are many to choose from. You can get help from the Pensions Advisory Service who provide information, advice, or guidance.

Other investments

Having a pension is not the only way to save for retirement.

If you are interested in finding out about other investments then DirectGov provide information on ways in which you can plan your retirement income that you might find useful.

A professional financial planner will help you organise your money in the way that is best suited to you. The Institute of Financial Planning is a professional body of planners and can provide information as well as helping you find a planner in your area. You can visit their website or call them on 0117 945 2470.

Benefits in retirement

There are a wide range of benefits that are available to people in their retirement.

These could include pension credits, cold weather payments, free TV licence, or winter fuel payments. You can find information on the benefits available to you on the DirectGov website. DirectGov can also give you general information on all money matters in old age and retirement.

If you need help in claiming any of the benefits you may be entitled to or wish to challenge a benefit decision then you can visit AgeUK's website or call them on 0800 169 6565.



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The Information Standard: Certified member

This article was last reviewed on 31/3/2013 by T. Kelaart

Date due for the next review: 31/1/2014

Content Author: B. DeHinbo

Current Owner: Advice & Advocacy

More information:

State Pension fact sheet, AgeUK (2010) 

Getting a State Pension forecast, DirectGov

Pensions Advisory Service

Saving for retirement, DirectGov 

Financial Planning and you

Guide to benefits in retirement, DirectGov 

Money matters, AgeUK 

Pensions and retirement planning, DirectGov 

Types of pensions, DirectGov 

State Pensions - an introduction, DirectGov 

Company and personal pensions, DirectGov