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Ask a Scottish Widows expert your questions on pensions and retirement - 3 x £100 voucher to be won!

(119 Posts)
EmmaMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 21-Mar-19 10:21:52

This activity is now closed. You can view the answers here.

We are working with Scottish Widows to help answer any questions you have on pensions and retirement. With minimum workplace pension contributions increasing in April, from 5% to 8%, we’d love to hear your questions or any thoughts you have, either on this or about pensions and retirement in general.

Scottish Widows Retirement Expert Jackie Leiper has volunteered to answer your top questions and is passionate in helping women plan for their financial future.

Jackie said: “We know women face their own unique challenges in saving for the future. With more women working part time and many of us going on maternity leave at various points in our careers it’s often difficult to know if you’re saving enough for your future.

With an increase to workplace pensions in April I want to help explain what the changes could mean for you and how a small increase now could really make a big difference to your future.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions on the changes or anything that’s in the back of your mind regarding saving for retirement.

To help get you started and explore the upcoming changes you can watch our Pension Basics film or visit our website to see how it could impact you.”

Whatever questions you have around pensions and retirement, please post them below and we will choose 10 for Jackie to answer. Everyone who posts a question below will be entered into a prize draw to win one of three £100 vouchers of their choice (from a list).

Thanks and good luck with the prize draw.


Terms & conditions apply

Asuwere Thu 21-Mar-19 14:51:41

I'd like to know at what point/age is it too late to sort out a pension?

wannabebetter Thu 21-Mar-19 15:42:59

I'd love to understand the yearly statements - most recent one told me my personal SW pension illustration was around £550 per year!! I've been paying into it for over 30 years and was a little, errm, deflated! Also, opted out of SERPS years ago (when everyone did) and have no clue what this means and whether I should go back in, whether I'll get less pension as a result, and whether the ads telling me I may have a claim are genuine or not!! Finally, why can't I transfer my fund to my workplace pension without having to pay a financial adviser to tell SW? I am an adult and capable of making my own decisions.....

wannabebetter Thu 21-Mar-19 15:45:30

…. I should add (in relation to my first point about statements) it gave recent transfer value of approx. £50k so my reckoning is that I'm expected to live around 80 more years once I retire!!

sharond101 Thu 21-Mar-19 17:49:38

How can I merge different pensions together?

tinofbeans Thu 21-Mar-19 17:54:31

If my husband has a really good pension then pops his clogs aged 66, will it pass to me?

Laterthanyouthink Thu 21-Mar-19 18:01:16

I have multiple different pensions that I can start to take from age 55, how do I work out when I can stop work also bearing in mind DH is 11 years older so might not have much of a retirement together if I wait until 67 to retire.

Moominmammacat Thu 21-Mar-19 18:09:32

Do I have to buy an annuity?

Ribeebie Thu 21-Mar-19 18:19:19

Would it be problematic to opt out of my work pension whilst I'm on maternity leave and restart it when I go back to work?

BristolMum96 Thu 21-Mar-19 18:23:40

Is it worth contributing more than the minimum amount?

MrsFrTedCrilly Thu 21-Mar-19 18:43:00

Would advise SAHP to pay into a pension plan?

sarat1 Thu 21-Mar-19 19:04:25

I definitely have a pension as a teacher but know nothing about how it works and whether I should do anything about it or let it do its thing. Is there somewhere I can find out more?

m0jit0 Thu 21-Mar-19 19:08:07

I will have a nhs pension but is it worth starting a private pension also? How do I go about doing this?

dovebetty Thu 21-Mar-19 19:14:49

I have a small pension from a former job.
I am 57 so I have neglected this since I left the firm.
Will I have to wait until I am 68 (my official retirement date) to get the best result ?

Coronapop Thu 21-Mar-19 19:50:50

How much tax do I pay if I cash in an AVC? I am already receiving the associated occupational pension and paying tax on that.

Robbo93 Thu 21-Mar-19 20:52:52

How does tax relief work? Do I have to notify Hmrc with how much I pay into a pension or do they know from my wages? How do I benefit from the tax relief?

Mummymummums Thu 21-Mar-19 22:15:04

I've been in my current job only a few months. Will I get my contributions back if I leave? What about the employer ones? Or do they stay in what will be a very low value pension?

bobsandboo Thu 21-Mar-19 22:15:31

What impact do you think the increase in minimum contributions under auto enrolment to 8% from 5%, 5% from 3% of that to come from the employer, will have on opt out rates? Do you think the way the rates have been introduced at a low level and increased over time has helped more people to understand how important it is to save for retirement?

Enigma222 Thu 21-Mar-19 22:29:53

Is it simple to start a pension scheme and keep track of once set up?

beeyourself Thu 21-Mar-19 22:36:31

Will all companies have to pay 8%? I work in a small company than currently pays 7%.

Pensions don't seem to be performing well at the moment - am I better off overpaying my mortgage instead?

Popcornandbuttons Thu 21-Mar-19 22:44:27

The increase in contributions is for the automatic enrolment scheme - do you think this will influence companies to amend the contribution rates in the their company pension schemes?

Yeoldewoman Thu 21-Mar-19 23:18:23

I am 65 and missed getting my state pension at 60 by 1 month. As a result I decided to carry on working full time until I had saved the amount the government cheated me out of. Unfortunately I am still working but part time. When workplace pensions came in I enquired online if it was worth me contributing and was told yes but to look on it as a savings scheme. Is this correct and if I pack in work soon will it have been worthwhile? (ie was I given the correct advice?) Just an average earner- nothing marvellous.

ilovesooty Thu 21-Mar-19 23:25:56

I'm leaving my paid employment aged just over 63. I have an occupational pension from previous employment but no mortgage to pay. I intend to take 25% tax free and draw down a sum to supplement my other occupational pension and last me until I can claim my state pension, while going fully self employed. Is this a better plan than buying an annuity - it seems like it to me?

Mmmmbrekkie Fri 22-Mar-19 06:47:47

I took a long career break post children
I have lost track of the little pensions I had had with precious employers before then. From twenty years ago!

How can I confirm past pensions so that I can put them all in one pot?

Many thanks

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow1 Fri 22-Mar-19 06:55:42

Why have pension schemes performed badly this year?

GetOffTheRoof Fri 22-Mar-19 07:03:57

I have two good public sector pensions - police 1987 scheme with 10 years in it, and civil service Alpha with 5 years in it so far.

I'm thinking about a private pension on top, but have no idea where to start. What would you recommend for someone already paying into an employer scheme who wants to increase their future payouts? Pensions or investments?

Smeller89 Fri 22-Mar-19 07:44:08

I'm hoping to take maternity leave at some point, and maybe an extra year off if we can afford it. What should I do about my pension during the time I am not working? Is it worth trying to keep my contributions up to their usual level, even if it means spending less in other areas?

HannahLI Fri 22-Mar-19 10:06:19

I don't currently I am needed to be a stay at home parent but I do worry about my pension. When I was working I was topping up an additional £80 on to of work contribution which isn't very much but I continued to add that after leaving work. How much really should I be putting into my pension each month? Should I be trying to put more in?

Summergarden Fri 22-Mar-19 12:31:22

What is the youngest age you can start to take a private pension and is that age likely to rise in line with further higher state pension claim ages?

buize Fri 22-Mar-19 14:39:45

I have an AVC pension that I have stopped paying into as the Government has said it doesn’t represent a good financial investment.

How do I take the money out before my retirement age?

ponygirlcurtis Fri 22-Mar-19 16:08:00

What's the best way to maximise my likely pension? I am in my employer pension scheme but I am a low earner at the moment and also have missed about 6 years of pension contributions. I am 45 so still 20 years or so to make contributions.

QueenOfPharts Fri 22-Mar-19 16:25:03

We have quite a lot of personal dept-around 20k. Me and DH both work and are in our early 30s. We currently pay into work place pensions. We feel this is an expensive time in our lives with dc 3 now on the way. Should we stop the work place pension for a few years til we pay off debt

Arnoldthecat Fri 22-Mar-19 16:31:37

I would like to open a SIPP . At some future date i might transfer my company pension into it. What cash savings accounts can i invest in within a sipp and what are the best interest rates and SIPP providers with the lowest charges for this?

ButterflyOfFreedom Fri 22-Mar-19 16:52:58

I have a number of different work pensions having been employed by various organisations. Is there a quick, easy way of seeing what is in each pot / managing them?

Thank you

rupert23 Fri 22-Mar-19 17:44:13

i have a few small private pensions.How do i find out if i can access them at 55 and how much i would receive from them it does not seem clear on paperwork that i have been sent previously

itsabongthing Fri 22-Mar-19 17:55:50

Lots of people move jobs through their lives these days. Is it generally better to combine different pension pots from different jobs? I had two separate local government pensions and wasn’t sure if it was best to combine them or not when they wrote and gave me the option.

starlight36 Fri 22-Mar-19 19:20:51

Can you open a private pension and transfer in previous work pensions do you only have one pot? If you do this do you have to then contribute regular amounts?

CharliesMouse Fri 22-Mar-19 22:26:34

What happens to my pension if I die shortly after I retire? I believe there is a death in service lump sum payment made to my dependents should I die whilst still on the payroll but do all my pension savings just disappear on my death? I am single with two children.

allthingsred Fri 22-Mar-19 23:17:14

I canot get my head around workplace pensions even though I pay into one. & someone told me last month my salary sacrifice is also paying into it.
Could you explain them to me.. like I'm a 6 year old? I would really like to understand what that portion of my wage is going towards

Elllicam Sat 23-Mar-19 04:24:44

If I decide to be a stay at home parent for a few years is it worth paying into a private pension?

sashh Sat 23-Mar-19 06:36:22

I have a SIPP worth about £9K, I'm 52, am I right thinking I can take this as a cash lump sum as it wouldn't buy an annuity.

lillypopdaisyduke Sat 23-Mar-19 13:51:14

Who are the best company to use to locate a pension for a company which was dissolved years ago. My husband paid into a pension scheme, but the company went bust, and we cannot find any trace of them. Thanks

jacqui5366 Sat 23-Mar-19 13:55:58

I do not have any realistic pension provision, and only work part time, and want to save for my pension, if/when my contributions increase and my take home pay decreases, do working tax credits make up the difference and my net is lower due to my pension increase.

maclinks Sat 23-Mar-19 18:30:53

I plan to retire in 8 years at because i can take my occupational pension, my state pension has now moved fro, 60 to 67 for me, so 7 years managing without my state pension. When I get there in 15 years I am convinced my state pension with be means tested, am I right to think this could be the case.

macblank Sat 23-Mar-19 21:07:59

My fiancée (for various reasons) only paid in for 2 years on her private pension.

Is she better taking the lot (less than 2k) in one payment now (she on disability benefits, and would declare if necessary) or waiting 10 or so years and getting whatever it works out each week (probably a £5 a week if lucky)?

ElizabethG81 Sun 24-Mar-19 09:47:33

Would you recommend starting a pension for a child?

3boysandabump Sun 24-Mar-19 14:20:16

Will state pension be completely abolished one day?

TheGirlWithGlassFeet Sun 24-Mar-19 18:04:00

How much do you think it is necessary to have in the pension pot for a decent retirement income?

claza93 Sun 24-Mar-19 20:29:49

Is it worth paying more than the minimum amount?

KickAssAngel Sun 24-Mar-19 20:33:22

Is there any way to get a retirement income that's equal to a working income?

It seems likely that any/all savings will give us (at best) about half our current wages but I don't see how we can cut our living costs in half. I don't see how food/fuel etc will decrease; and the cost of medicine, needing help (e.g.a taxi for a journey I would have walked) will go up. I'm prepared to move to a smaller home, but that only helps so much.

Aside from a pension, what other savings could see me through post-retirement?

callmecrazybut Sun 24-Mar-19 21:51:20

I opted in to the pension scheme for a company I worked for for a couple of years as a student - I don't have any of the papers any more - have I lost this money now?

Theimpossiblegirl Sun 24-Mar-19 22:51:27

How can I work out how much I need to live off in retirement and how much I need to save to achieve this?

TellMeItsNotTrue Mon 25-Mar-19 01:10:24

Can you advise me of a good place to look for really basic information, I want to make sure I fully understand it all

Chocmallows Mon 25-Mar-19 08:37:19

Is it better financially to overpay my mortgage or to pay money into a locked away private pension?

llynnnn Mon 25-Mar-19 12:51:42

Do you expect minimum contributions to rise again in the near future from the new 8%? Do you worry about them becming unaffordable for many and then people 'opting out' and therefore being worse off in the long run than if they'd just been allowed to continue with their 1% or 2% which may have been managable for them?

daniel1996 Mon 25-Mar-19 13:20:05

I will be concentrating on paying my mortgage off rather than saving in a private pension, and will be downsizing to release income when I retire - what are your comments on using my equity as a pension ?

lovemyflipflops Mon 25-Mar-19 13:22:49

I have just gone back to work after a 5 year break, I have enrolled on the works pension, my question is - what is the best way of making up the 5 years I've missed - through my works pension - making additional contributions, or take out an additional private pension.

Montydoo Mon 25-Mar-19 13:24:59

I have just had a pay rise, instead of taking the rise (which works out at £75 per month) can I increase my pension contributions by this amount ?

BirdieInTheHand Mon 25-Mar-19 13:25:37

After being a SAHM for many years I didn't pay NI contributions. I'm now working overseas. Is it with starting these up again?

HavelockVetinari Mon 25-Mar-19 14:33:29

How does a person go about setting up am additional private pension? I have a civil service pension but am assuming I won't be able to live on it so think I need another private one. The only problem is that it's all totally bewildering!

differenteverytime Mon 25-Mar-19 15:53:18

If I leave my current job after less than 2 years, will I have the option to keep the money (about £3K) in the pension scheme, or am I obliged to withdraw and invest it elsewhere? Will there be tax implications if I withdraw?

rholo Mon 25-Mar-19 18:12:45

I have been a SAHP for 8 years but previous to that I was a secondary school teacher. How do I find out what I need to know about my pension contributions from when I was working? I have no idea where to start. Thank you.

Gazelda Mon 25-Mar-19 19:56:45

I have several pensions, none of which are marvellous (charity sector worker). One of them is very, very small - how do I know if it's worth merging it with my current employers pension?

Carriemac Mon 25-Mar-19 21:01:49

how does 'carry forward' work if you have a high (100k plus) nhs pension, 30 years service and are 58?

phoebewallerbridge Mon 25-Mar-19 21:19:19

I have cashed in some shares so therefore have some money to invest (in my pension...)

Can I use my salary to make larger than the typical monthly payments DIRECT to my pension (within my annual allowance) and so save some tax or NI? Or am I dreaming?!

(I'll then live on my shares £ for a bit).


GetKnitted Mon 25-Mar-19 22:11:01

is a treasury backed pension just as vulnerable to change as every other policy of government, like good social care, school funding, state pension etc. (I agree that it is less important than school funding, but would like to know what a professional thinks about its security).

ifigoup Tue 26-Mar-19 05:59:09

Should I pay out of pocket for the NI contributions I missed from previous years?

lolly2010 Tue 26-Mar-19 10:34:44

How easy is it to combine several pensions?

zxcv123 Tue 26-Mar-19 10:39:43

If you are in line for the maximum state pension, how much extra in terms of private pension do you recommend people aim for? (I know everyone's circumstances are different, but assume it's a single person, no housing costs and wanting an average lifestyle.) Thanks.

Bumblebeans Tue 26-Mar-19 10:58:53

Should the government take more responsibility for educating the public regarding pension options?

SuzCG Tue 26-Mar-19 13:58:48

I was in a final salary scheme with the bank I worked for, 21 years in total, although the last 2 were part-time (which probably now makes the pot next to worthless). I have just left this is as it is. Is the correct thing to do or should be be doing something pro-active about it/something better?

Milkn0sugar Tue 26-Mar-19 17:16:24

My DH has had a number of different jobs and therefore has lots of different pension pots all over the place. We successfully tracked all of them down recently and we were surprised to learn that since we had never administered them in any way, my DH hadn't ticked boxes that stipulated that his pension funds would be transferred to me, his wife, if he passed away. Do most providers operate this kind of 'opt in' scheme for what I presumed was a given i.e. that pension funds would be transferred to family if the worst was to happen? This is our hard-saved cash after all.

blue25 Tue 26-Mar-19 22:54:19

Is it realistic to survive in retirement on just a full state pension? What kind of lifestyle would this provide?

Tinkerbellisnotafairy Wed 27-Mar-19 14:44:31

How do you track down different pensions you've held through different jobs?

zinrepus Wed 27-Mar-19 15:43:47

How easy is it to combine pensions? My current employer will pay into whatever pension I designate: how can I tell which of my pensions is giving me the best return?

ourkidmolly Wed 27-Mar-19 19:46:24

Do you think that there will be a national universal benefit scheme in 20/25 years or will it be phased out?

XingMing Wed 27-Mar-19 20:08:32

How best to choose a fund manager to manage surplus accrued funds in a family SIPP based on commercial property?

And, as a former pension professional in the US, please remind all participants that every £ invested before you turn 25 is worth three or four times the same pound invested after 40. Very small sums mount up, if you start start young.

Reallyevilmuffin Thu 28-Mar-19 08:19:26

I'd like to understand the NHS pension changes and the tapering annual allowance reduction that I believe I would fall foul of this year?

FrowningFlamingo Thu 28-Mar-19 09:06:11

I have an NHS pension but I worry about it being changed without warning as has happened in the past. Is it worth trying to set up a private pension too or am I being paranoid?

Elven Thu 28-Mar-19 17:33:04

I have two pension pots that will pay out at different retirement ages. I'm interested in the possibility of a bridging pension that would allow me to retire at the earlier of the two ages.

Are bridging pensions generally well thought of, or should I be considering something else?

ScarletAnemone Thu 28-Mar-19 18:25:10

I have a defined benefits occupational pension that I can take from 60 but I won’t have a full NI record by then. Can I pay voluntary NI contributions after the age of 60 when I will have already retired?

LateMumma Thu 28-Mar-19 19:29:48

Is it better to leave pensions as stand alone pots or merge them and if so how should I go about this?

TweetleBeetlesBattle Thu 28-Mar-19 20:36:20

Is mid forties too late to start a pension? Is there any chance of getting a reasonable sum together before retirement?

30under Thu 28-Mar-19 23:53:35

I'm in the NHS. How do I make Additional Voluntary Contributions, if that's what they're called?

wizzler Fri 29-Mar-19 08:44:41

I am 53 and my state pension age is 67. Will it definitely be 67 or might it creep upwards again ?

ree348 Sat 30-Mar-19 07:12:04

How can I reconcile all my pensions into one?

Tanfastic Sat 30-Mar-19 17:20:28

When the new working pensions came in a couple of year's ago the company I was working (and had been for 18 years without a pension) for signed up to Nest and I paid about three months before I left to join another company. I was with the next company seven months before they made everyone redundant (having paid about three months with a new workplace pension). I'm now with another company and have just been enrolled into their workplace pension and I just wondered whether it's worth amalgamating all three?

I'm 45 so a bit late to this pension lark and only earn minimum wage so I can't afford to make any higher contribution than the legal minimum and working for solicitors means they don't contribute any more than they have to either 😛.

Actually wondering if it's really worth it.

VanGoghsDog Sat 30-Mar-19 19:25:56

What sort of range of fees is reasonable to expect to pay on a SIPP and the holdings within it?

Caraboss Sat 30-Mar-19 20:51:23

I contacted out of serps around twenty years ago. How can I find out the implications of this now? Thank you.

PaddingtonMare Sat 30-Mar-19 22:36:49

I’ve had a lot of FTC over the last 10 years and opt for a work place pension to gain the organisations contributions.

I now have around 4 workplace pensions and a private pension with Scottish Widows, but have been told I can’t transfer money in to my private account from another.

Should I look to consolidate?

What are pensions companies doing to keep up with people now having (unintentional) numerous pensions? Will we move towards the Australian model?

Flapdoodles Sun 31-Mar-19 11:01:56

I have an NHS pension - how do I find out at what age this will start to pay out and what my predicted pension will be? I now work in another sector and have done for several years, I pay into the local council pension - would I be better cancelling that and paying it into the NHS pension to keep that topped up (and is that even possible?).

Brown76 Mon 01-Apr-19 12:39:36

Hi Jackie.

I’m have a workplace stakeholder from when I was employed, charges are low (0.35%). I am now self employed and want to restart contributions. Are stakeholders ‘legacy products’ these days and should those holding them be looking to switch?

My IFA has suggested a new scheme with much higher charges (0.9%). What are the other charges and things to look at that would offset such an increase in charges.

LizB62A Mon 01-Apr-19 17:48:47

I've worked for 6 different companies so have got a few different (and small!) pension pots - is it always better to combine them together into one pot or not?
Are there any broad guidelines to help me decide whether or not to merge them ?

Poppyinafieldofdreams Mon 01-Apr-19 21:40:20

I found it easy to set up and run a Sipp on my own using an allocation of trackers and investment trusts. Now that I am retired I am still contributing. I am finding it impossible to transition from saving to spending. Frankly I enjoy investing too much. The best I can come up with is to draw off some of the dividends using ufpls within a net no tax parameter. What is wrong with me ?

pastaparadise Mon 01-Apr-19 22:07:16

I've been in the NHS pension scheme for 18 years (I'm now 42). Since having dc 5 years ago I only work 1.5 days. Should i be topping up into a private pension and do i need a financial advisor to find a good one, or is this information relatively easy to find? Having always been in the public sector i don't really know where to start. And is it better to put spare cash into a pension or pay down mortgage debt as quickly as possible?

thank you!

JudgeRulesNutterButter Tue 02-Apr-19 14:43:00

Are we saving enough? How much should we be saving?

(And if you have any extra time- how long is a piece of string?)

Bluecow15 Tue 02-Apr-19 21:46:19

My work keeps suggesting AVCs. Should I be doing them? Do I save tax?

StrangeThings Wed 03-Apr-19 10:17:27

I have a disability and was on Employment Support Allowance since about 2011. Now I am on Universal Credit. I moved from America to the UK in 2007. I was married and got a divorce. I do have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.

I have never worked since being in the UK. I am 61 years of age and from what I understand, 66 is my "Retirement" age.

Because I have a disability and have not worked, will I still be able to get on a Pension when I reach 66 years of age? Or will I just be left with a disability and no money to live on?

MrsRobert Wed 03-Apr-19 13:23:46

If I take three months unpaid maternity leave does my employer stop contributing during that time?

maclinks Wed 03-Apr-19 19:38:45

What options are open to me if I want to retire at 55

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