State pensions are hardly the sexiest topic. I can understand why, if you are young life, you don’t think about the topic too much. That is unless you’re encouraging your parents to check their availability. However state pensions are important in later life – it’s never too early to start thinking about your eligibility and amount.
The age at which you are eligible for a state pension varies depending on when you were born, more info can be found here. However, more important than age is checking when you have qualified for the maximum available.
Currently, the full state pension is £164.35 per week. For most of us, living on £8,546.20 per annum would not seem viable. Yet for a couple, an annual income of more than £17,000 per year can help cover ‘non-discretionary’ spending, such as utilities.
The amount you receive depends on your National Insurance record. To receive the full state pension, you need to have contributed for at least 35 years. Just working for 35 years is not always enough, for example you may have been ‘contracted out’ of the state scheme or worked abroad.
If you have six years or less before reaching your state retirement age, or if you have stopped working, you should check your state pension entitlement. You have the opportunity to make up any shortfall with voluntary contributions. Start here.
Of course, your state pension is just one thing to think about. You also need to plan how to fund the rest of your retirement needs and goals from sources other than the state provision.