A Pension is simply a long term savings plan used specifically to fund your retirement.
Pensions are tax efficient and can hold many different investments within it.
You can put money into a pension at any age but can only start taking money out from age 55.
* As at 01/12/2017 ** Source Aegon 21/08/2017 *** Annuity quote created 07/12/2017, single, level, no TFC, no guarantees
The good thing about a pension is its tax efficiency. Firstly you receive tax relief on contributions, depending on what tax band you are. Secondly the gains from the investments within a pension are largely tax free.
Tax relief means you will usually get the tax back that you have paid on a contribution,as long as you are under 75, subject to certain limits called the annual and lifetime allowance.
If contributions are from you personally or taken by your employer from your pay, you should automatically receive 20% from the government as an extra payment into your pension pot. If you are a higher rate tax payer you can claim an extra 20% and additional rate tax payers can claim an extra 25%.
If contributions are made by your employer or is taken from your pre-tax pay then tax hasnt been paid on the contribution, so still worthwhile doing.
This is very much down to your individual circumstances, the earlier you start a pension the better, however not everyone can afford to contribute early on.
For a comfortable retirement a rough starting place would be:
"Halve your current age and use that figure as a percentage of your pre-tax earnings"
There are upper limits on how much you can put into investments in any one year, and over your lifetime, that will receive the tax efficiency above.
When starting a pension there are many things to consider, what provider you choose, what to invest into, how much is affordable, and will it give enough in retirement are just a few.
Every Pension provider has differing fees, these can drastically affect the pot size of your pension when you come to draw an income. Some Pension providers are only available when accessed through a Financial Adviser and aren't available direct.
The investments held within a Pension are also another big consideration, some Pension providers will give you access to over 6,000+ funds. Without the expertise of a Financial Adviser, building a fund portfolio can be very difficult, especially when trying to select a number of funds that will perform well, without taking too much risk or costing too much.