Pre-pension checklist: How to boost your fund with less than 10 years to retirement

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Which? research shows that the average Briton spends roughly £26,000 per year in retirement, with experts advising savers should have 20 to 25 times their expected annual expenditure saved for retirement. However, as of last year the average pension pot for those aged 65 was just £61,897, but Ms Robertson shared how anyone aged 65 and over can boost their pot in the vital years before retirement.

As the state pension age and UK life expectancy increases, the general consensus is that people will end up working longer.

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However, this has not translated into people changing their retirement savings plans nor are many Brits utilising these added years to better their pension pots.

Ms Robertson, an independent financial adviser shared seven ways people can increase their pension pots with less than 10 years before retirement.

Review work pensions

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Ms Robertson noted that it may be worth reviewing the terms and conditions of one’s work pension to see if there are potential benefits they can utilise in their last few working years.

She shared: “It’s worth looking at the scheme they’re in through work because sometimes, like the NHS pension, will mean that the more hours that they do will have a direct effect on the ratio of income paid at retirement.

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Pre-pension checklist: How to boost your fund with less than 10 years to retirement
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“So when people are slowing down working, some are actually working more because it will mean they get more in the latter years.”

Defer pension

Many plan to retire as soon as they reach retirement age, whenever that may be as it continues to rise, but few notice the possibilities in not claiming their pension as soon as they are able to.

Ms Robertson advised: “The longest amount of time you can defer drawing on that pension, the more you’re in that accumulation phase. Basically by not reducing the pot of money by taking income from it.

“If you’re able to take a part-time job, start a side business, anything you can do to delay that and allow the money to accumulate the better.”

However, there can be times when people may need to dip into their pension pot, and Ms Robertson added that it can be done whilst deferring a pension without any major repercussions.

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Pre-pension checklist: How to boost your fund with less than 10 years to retirement
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“If you do take some from it but you are still working you can take part of the 25 percent lump sum for things like: ‘I’ve got a little side business and I just need a few hundred pounds to help me start that’ you can take that money out.”

She added: “Say you’re 65 and going to carry on working, reduce your debt and delay your pension a bit longer, by making sure those pensions are in the best place can have a massive impact on your pension income because it means the money is accumulating more and quicker.”

Reducing debt

Having enough savings to retire greatly depends on how much one will spend each year in retirement.

For many this simply comes down to basic necessities such as food and clothing while others want to factor in some luxuries as well.

However, by reducing the amount of expenditure one has will see them needing less income in retirement and may make their pension pot viable for living off.

Ms Robertson explained: “If you can reduce any credit cards, any mortgage liabilities so that your need for future income is reduced is another benefit.”

National Insurance contributions

The amount of state pension one receives is dependent on both their age, which decides whether they receive the basic state pension or new state pension, as well as the National Insurance record.

In order to receive the full new state pension they need to have 35 qualifying years of paying National Insurance, and those with between 10 and 35 years will receive only a portion of their state pension.

Ms Robertson advised savers to check their National Insurance records: “It’s worthwhile looking at state pension and if you can backdate some of your pension allowances like your NI contributions. Therefore it will increase your state pension at retirement age.”

Merging pensions

An estimated £19billion has been lost to forgotten pensions, where individuals have changed jobs or careers and forgotten to take their pension pots with them.

Additionally, many people have multiple pension pots invested in different ways or industries.

Ms Robertson advised checking in on all of one’s pension pots to ensure none have been left behind and review if they are in the “best possible place”, if not savers can choose to merge them into a single pension pot.

She noted this simple check up and reorganisation “can make a huge difference”.

Increasing rate of return

Ms Robertson shared that there are three factors taken into account for pension forecasts: cost, inflation and the rate of return.

More conservative investors will generally stick to the minimum rate of return as it is where their money should be safest.

However, she noted: “If I were to increase that by three percent, the amount of money in only five or 10 years can make a huge difference.”

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