Help. Have decided today that I must sort out my pension situation.
I am 34 and about to go on may leave for a year. I have two pensions. A stakeholder that was paid into for about two years ten years ago and my current employer one which I have paid into since 2005 but I am part time and earn about 20k.
I am planning to stay in my part time job for a few years at least, probably until 2015.
But I think I probably need to start an additional private one. I can pay about £150 a month into it. Is this enough for the next 30 years to prevent poverty in old age? (dh has a decent pension paid into since mid 20s). Or am I too late?
How do I find a pension? Can I do it alone or do I need to see an adviser?
just increase your payments into your employer pension! If it's an occupational money purchase pension or a Group personal pension you are likely to have lower charges than anything you will source in the market yourself. Charges are the silent killer so investigate that route before you do anything else.
It is likely that your work has a pension company provider that 'manage' the pension. Ask for a meeting. Ensure your fund selection is age appropriate (i.e take some risk) pay in what you can and frankly you will be better off than not doing anything.
Also that stakeholder is possibly on a fairly old style contract and it may be worth transfering the money in that into the existing works pension (if they will let you). Again it's all about the charges. Who are both pensions with?
ah right so you have a defined benefit scheme. Ok so you can contribute to your employer scheme but the contributions will be Additional Voluntary Contributions (AVC's). Without doing a proper analysis I can't quickly tell you if this offers good value. Considerations are cost, choice of funds (depending on the scheme structure), your attitude to risk (ATR) and your future likelihood to remain with the employer. You will need to speak to an adviser and one that has a G60/AF3 qualification ideally (that's the pension qualification)
As for Your Stakeholder scheme; Friends Provident will often update schemes so they comply with modern charging structures. I would suggest that the scheme is reviewed along with your employer scheme and a recommendation is made on both. If it is suitable you could use this for extra contributions (again cost, ATR, fund choice are considerations), but only if the AVC route is not better.
A fee based adviser would possibly seem more expensive at the outset, but you want the distance from the decision as you don't want to end up buying an unnecessary pension product so they can get paid! (not suggesting many advisers would do that, but some MAY).