Building a Pension in your 40s

4 ways to build a good-sized pension pot, even if you start in your 40s

Have you left your financial planning a little late? Don’t worry, you can still save up a sizeable amount for your retirement, even if you start in later in life.
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If you’re in your 40s and haven’t started your pension, you’re not alone. Many people avoid planning for their retirement, with more than half of Brits saving nothing into a pension and almost the same amount of people having no idea what amount of funds they’ll need for retirement.

But even if you’re starting your pension at 40, there are still ways to build a decent pension pot before your retirement.

Here are 4 tricks to grow your retirement fund:

Track Down Pensions in Your Name

You could easily have an unclaimed pension from a previous employer. There are around 1.6 million unclaimed pensions1, valued at £400 million, in the UK and one of those could be yours. Dig out your old paperwork to see where you or your employer may have invested funds so that you can use this to start a new savings plan.

Combine Your Pension Pots

If you do find old pensions, your best course of action may be to combine these into one self-invested personal pension (SIPP) fund. Having all your savings in one place makes it easier to manage your funds, and prevents your smaller funds being swallowed by fees.

Did You Know?

Pension scheme fees can have a significant impact over time, especially if your fund has slow growth or you aren’t contributing frequently. Some pension providers claim annual fees of as much as 10.4%

Keep in mind that some pensions are better left alone, such as those with guaranteed benefits, so do your homework before combining your funds.

Map Out Your Contribution Plan

Once you know what your savings stand at, you’ll be able to put a plan in place to grow your fund. How much you’ll need for retirement2 is dependent on your circumstances, but researchhas shown that the average retired couple needs around £18,000 a year to cover household essentials. These costs include food, utilities, transport and housing. To afford luxuries such as travelling, couples had to increase the yearly income to £26,000.

To reach this income, you’ll need to save £5,000 for each year of your retirement on top of the full State Pension of £8,546.20.

In Simple Terms

If you’re starting from zero, based on the State Pension and pension age, you should be saving:

  • £131 monthly from age 20,
  • £198 a month if you’re in your 30s,
  • £338 monthly if you’ve turned 40, and
  • £633 every month from the age of 50.

What does this mean for you?

For a couple who decide to start a pension in their 40s, you’ll each have to save £169 per month or less if you’ve got funds in pension schemes from previous jobs. But if you leave starting your pension any later, the monthly amount you need to save could become substantial.

The sooner you can start saving, the more funds you’ll have for your retirement. Start by enrolling for your workplace pension scheme if you can, as your employer’s contributions can help increase your pension pot.

Keep Chipping In

The cost of living can make budgets tight and bring the temptation of reducing your pension contributions. However, if you’re just starting your pension at 45, you’ll have to be disciplined. You have time to save up a reasonably-sized pension, and it is unlikely to change your lifestyle significantly – small budget cuts go a long way in saving up funds.

A Few Common Questions

Is 40 Too Late to Start Pension Savings?
How Much Should I Put Away If I've Started Saving for a Pension at 40?
How Can I Maximise My Pension Savings if I Started Saving Late?
Should I consolidate my pension pots to help me save more after 40?

In Conclusion

You may be starting your pension savings slightly late, but you still have plenty of time to save up for your retirement. Small changes can help you free up funds for your pension and sticking to your financial plan can see your retirement savings back on track in no time.

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