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Last Updated: Monday, 19 November 2007, 11:08 GMT
Income in retirement
Your retirement could last for 20 or 30 years or even more, so it's important to make the most of your money.



HOW MUCH MONEY WILL YOU NEED?

Think about how your outgoings might change when you retire - you may spend less on some items, such as travelling to work, but more on others, such as heating.

Using an online budget calculator might help you to do this.

Your retirement could last 20 or 30 years or more. So remember to think about how the amount of money you need might change as you get older and to allow for the effects of inflation.

INCOME FROM PENSIONS

Find out what state pension you can expect to get when you retire.

You can find out how to do this via the Pension Service website.

But remember that there may be changes to the state scheme before you retire.

Are you a member of the pension scheme at work? If so, your employer should be able to give you some information about what you will get when you retire.

Some pension schemes will pay you a pension based on your earnings while you were working.

Others build up a pension fund which can be used to buy an annuity.

Do you have a personal pension? If so, the company providing the pension should be able to tell you how much you have built up in your pension fund.

You can usually take some of the fund as a lump sum but the rest must normally be used to buy an annuity.

Do you have any old pensions that you are no longer paying into? If so, find out what pension you can expect from them too.

If you've lost track of any pensions from a previous job, the Pension Tracing Service may be able to help you.

OTHER SOURCES OF INCOME

Check whether you will be entitled to any state benefits or tax credits. You can do this via the Directgov website.

Think whether you have any other savings or investments that you can put towards your retirement.

If you own your own home, you could think about using the money tied up in it to give you some extra income.

But be careful - this can be complicated and risky. You should think about getting some professional advice first.

If you can afford it, you may be able to delay taking some of your pension until after you retire. This could give you more money when you are older.

But this can be complicated - again you should think about getting some specialist advice first.

Or you could think about working longer. As well as boosting your earnings in the short term, this might help you to put some more money aside for when you do eventually retire.

BUYING AN ANNUITY

With some pension schemes, you have to buy an annuity - this converts the money in your pension fund into a regular income which is paid until you die.

You can also buy an annuity with any other lump sum to give you an income in retirement.

GETTING HELP

Sorting out your pension can be complicated. If you would like some help, you could think about talking to an adviser.


Useful checklists and information


Handy tools

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Contact numbers and internet links

Financial Services Authority - Consumer Information
Information from the UK's financial services watchdog
Consumer helpline: 0845 606 1234 (call rates may vary)

Directgov
Links to all government information and services

The Pension Service
Part of the Department for Work and Pensions
Tel: 0845 60 60 265 (call rates may vary, Mo-Fri 0800-2000)

The Pension Tracing Service
Free of charge search of more than 200,000 pension schemes
Tel: 0845 6002 537 (call rates may vary)

The Pension Advisory Service (Opas)
Information, guidance and dispute resolution on state, company, personal and stakeholder pensions
Tel: 0845 6012923 (call rates may vary)

Association of British Insurers

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


This checklist was developed jointly by the BBC and the Financial Services Authority (FSA), the UK watchdog for the financial services industry. It does not provide financial or other professional advice. If you want advice specifically tailored to your personal circumstances you should consult an adviser.




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