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Pension Myths Debunked

This post is from Department for Work and Pensions.

Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension will make it easier for people to start saving for their retirement.  All employers will be required to enrol their eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme if they are not already in one. We know there is a lot of confusion surrounding pensions and saving.  These pension myths can make people feel confused about what they need to do to fund their retirement. We’ve explained some common pension myths below.

It’s not worth saving into a pension.

FALSE! Most people can expect to get back more in retirement than they put in their pension. Most people saving in a workplace pension also benefit from contributions from their employer and the government in the form of tax relief*.

My house will be my pension pot.

BE CAREFUL! Property doesn’t allow you to spread your money across a range of different investments like a pension does, and doesn’t have the same tax advantages.

My partner will be my pension pot / I’ll inherit money from my parents.

BE CAREFUL! Inheritances can be uncertain, so it is important to make individual pension provision. Increasing numbers of people are surviving into their 90s and longer, so your parents may still be alive when you retire. You might also find yourself in a difficult situation in the case of divorce.

I can only pay in a small amount so it isn’t worth it.

FALSE! Your contribution to your workplace pension will be a percentage of your salary. You’re also likely to benefit from a contribution from your employer and tax relief* from the government too. Even if you end up with a small overall pension pot, you might be able to take your pension as a cash lump sum as long as your pension savings are no more than a certain amount (currently £18,000).

I’ll save when I get old / I’m too old to start saving.

FALSE! It is better to start early – usually, the younger you start to save, the bigger your pension will be, as your money has more time to grow.  And unless your retirement is a few months away, there’s still time for you to build up some money.

If my company shuts down I lose everything.

FALSE! There was a problem with people losing their pensions when their company shut down in the past. But this is no longer the case.  With most schemes your pension is looked after by the pension provider, so if your employer goes bust you won’t lose your pension pot.

If your pension scheme is run by your employer and they go bust, your pension pot might be smaller than it would have been. This is because, if your employer has been paying the pension scheme administration costs, they will no longer be doing so. These costs would now come from the scheme member’s pots.

My grandma only lived to be 70 so surely I won’t live much longer, why bother saving?

BE CAREFUL! People tend to underestimate how long they’re likely to live and life expectancy across the generations is changing fast.  On average, you’re likely to spend 20 years in retirement, so you will need to plan for that.

The State Pension will be enough.

BE CAREFUL! The State Pension is a foundation, but for many people, relying on this alone could mean a fall in income at retirement. Saving into a workplace pension means people will have more money to help continue enjoying the things they like when they retire.

(*Tax relief means some of your money that would have gone to the government as income tax, goes into your workplace pension instead.)

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  1. Julian Steele | Jun 1, 2012 | Reply

    Why doesn’t the government do something simple like just increase the amount of NI pension contributions we have to pay each year so we can all have a reasonable state pension instead of wasting money on another scheme to get people to save.

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