There are a number of different types of pension schemes available to you; however they are commonly seen in the use of three main schemes. These are called ‘Occupational pensions’ (otherwise known as company pensions), ‘Personal pensions’ and lastly ‘Stakeholder pensions’.
Types of Pensions
An Occupational pension lets you save for your retirement through the use of your employer. To put it simply, each pay day, the pension scheme automatically puts a percentage slice of your earnings into that pension scheme. In addition to this, the government will also be putting extra money into your occupational pension for you. The money that you receive from your pension scheme is your source of income to live on once you retire. However, if you would prefer, an Occupational pension scheme can also be used as a way of taking out a lump sum once you retire, which is actually given to you tax free.
Another pension that is available to use is a Personal pension. Personal pensions are best suited for those who are either out of employment or in self-employment. Additionally, this type of pension scheme can be used when you are employed but ineligible for an automatic enrolment into an occupational pension. A personal pension works through making payments into your pension fund on a regular basis. When you retire, you are funded from your pension through the use of your investments into stocks and shares. By doing this, you aim to increase your money through the correct use of investments and shares. The main drawback of these types of schemes is that you don’t actually know the amount of money you have in there once you retire; it is all based on how well your investments have done. If you have invested badly, then you could face having a pension which is nowhere near the value of what you expected.
Finally, you’ve got stakeholder pensions. This type of pension is a lot like a personal pension, only this comes with no added deadlines and no extra costs if you miss any payments into your Stakeholder scheme. If you need flexibility regarding your pension, then likelihood is a stakeholder pension would probably be best for you. As mentioned there are no penalties or charges for missing payments and you can even switch to another pension scheme without incurring any charges.
Pension credit is a type of income-related benefit that is paid directly into your account on top of your current pension. Unlike many other sources of income; those entitled do not pay any tax on the benefit. Typically there are two types of pension credit; guarantee credit and savings credit. Guarantee credit ensures that your income is topped up to a minimum level (currently £145.40 for individuals and £222.05 for couples). Savings credit is designed for those who have a small amount of savings or an income that is higher than the basic state pension. As a pensioner, you may not receive notification that you are eligible for pension credit meaning it is your job to use one of the pension credit calculators and check your eligibility.
One option that’s growing in popularity amongst retirement savers is ISAs. Many choose to pay into them as opposed to a pension fund due to their ease of access, simplicity and flexibility. They work on the basis that if you need cash you can get it, if you want to put money in; you can.
One way of benefiting from the flexibility of ISAs and the tax relief of pension schemes is to spread your savings. This means that (if needed) you have access to the necessary funds from the ISA and are also getting the tax benefits from your pension scheme.
Saving Money as a Pensioner
Despite the various negatives, there are in fact a number of financial advantages to being a pensioner – not least the money saving opportunities available to you.
In the leisure industry, ticket prices for pensioners regarding things such as the theatre and cinema are cut down sometimes to as much as 20%, meaning that a weekly movie watch can actually seem affordable. Additionally, memberships for the elderly in terms of the gym or other health spa facilities are equally discounted.
Along with the leisure industry, the travel sector for pensioners also has its bonuses. Once you become a pensioner, public travel is suddenly a far better alternative than driving your car. When you turn over the age of 60, you are entitled to a free bus pass; free travel when and wherever. However, if you are not a fan of bus travel, again once you turn 60 you can apply for a senior rail pass, which gives you a third off all rail fares. The same even applies for some airlines, giving senior people ticket discounts, therefore even making your flights more cost friendly.
Finally, the health sector can be an enormous price plus for pensioners. If you are one of the many over 60’s that needs to wear glasses, then not only are you for major discounts on lenses, but with your pensioner status you are even entitled to free eye tests. Along with free eye tests, you are also eligible for free prescriptions. However, the main positive that you would receive from the health sector as a pensioner is income support for you or your partner if you fall ill. This would cover the cost of travel to and from hospital with a little extra, to make the process that much easier.
This article has been written by Jason Scott on behalf of UK Credit Limited. For more top finance guides visit their blog at www.guarantorloansonline.co.uk/Blog.