Did you know that the State Pension age (SPA) increased to 66 for both men and women in October 2020 and it’s set to rise further? Knowing your SPA, together with how much you can expect to receive, is an important part of your retirement plan that is often overlooked.
In 1908, when the first State Pension was introduced in the UK, you would have to wait until the grand old age of 70 before being able to claim. This was at a time when life expectancy at birth was around 40 years for men and 43 for women, and when only 24% of people reached State Pension age!
As recently as ten years ago, women could claim their state pension at 60, while men had to wait until they were 65, but qualifying ages have now been brought into line. The changes were introduced due to increased life expectancy, as people are now likely to spend a larger proportion of their adult lives in retirement than ever before.
To find out your SPA, visit the government website this will provide you with an exact date. However, you are no longer forced to take your pension at this age, so you could consider working longer if that suits your circumstances.
If you were born after April 1960, your pension age will be 67 and people born after April 1977 will have to wait until age 68 under current proposals, although the government is considering plans for this to be brought forward.
The State Pension is paid to anyone who has made at least ten years’ worth of National Insurance contributions during their working lifetime. The maximum payment is currently £175.20 a week (£9,110.40 a year), but how much you get depends on how many years you contributed for. You can check your State Pension forecast on the UK Government website.
You may also be able to apply for National Insurance credits or pay voluntary National Insurance to boost your State Pension, although the best options will depend on your individual circumstances.
Why not let the recent increase to the SPA act as a reminder to review all your pension pots, including your State Pension, to consider whether your savings are going to allow you to have the retirement you’ve dreamed of.
The value of investments and any income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount invested.
Written by Kirsty Telling 13th December 2020