Work seems to dominate our lives. We spend our early years preparing ourselves for our future careers and the rest of our working life preparing for our old age and working towards ensuring we have enough money to keep us comfortable in our old age. For some, no matter how hard we work, the everyday drains on finances means there is little put to one side for retirement.

Workplace pensions are the best solution to this problem and can provide additional financial support once retirement age has been reached and can give peace of mind as old age nears.

Pensions have always been available but there is a certain amount of confusion surrounding them. Who is eligible? How much is the weekly payment? When does a pension begin? The laws regarding workplace pensions has recently changed to make sure that no one misses the opportunity to have their own pension.

The Facts

·      The workplace pension is the ideal way to save for your retirement

·      A percentage of your monthly salary is paid in to your pension scheme

·      Your employer and the government will pay a certain amount of money in to the scheme to top up the amount

·      The money saved in your pension becomes an income for the rest of your life after retirement

·      After retirement, you are able to take a lump sum of money from your pension which will be tax free

·      You are unable to touch your pension fund until you have reached the age of 55 or unless you are battling a serious illness

·      The basic state pension is around £110 a week for one person

Automatic Enrolment

In October 2012, a new law regarding workplace pensions was brought in to ensure that no one missed the opportunity to safe guard their money for the future. All employees are automatically enrolled into a pension scheme unless they choose otherwise.

·      Employers have to automatically add employees into the scheme if they are aged between 22 years and retirement age, earn more than £9440 per week and work in the UK

·      Your employer cannot refuse to enrol you into the workplace pension scheme if that is what you wish to do.

·      Employers do not have to contribute to the pension scheme if employees earn £473 a month, £109 a week or £436 every 4 weeks

·      Employers must let you opt out of the scheme and provide you with a refund of the money paid into the pension scheme if you opt out within a month of the scheme beginning

·      Employers must always let you re-join the scheme

·      You will be automatically enrolled back into the scheme every three years where you will then need to opt out again if necessary

Salary Sacrifice

Also known as the SMART scheme. You give up a proportion of your salary and the employer pays the sum directly into your pension. This scheme allows both you and your employer to pay significantly less tax and national insurance.

Companies, businesses, organisations no matter how big or small have to take part in the pension scheme and make sure it is offered to all employees. If you are unhappy with your current companies pension protocol maybe it is time to complete a job application form and move into a company that will offer you what you are entitled to.