• The recent downturn in stock markets may have undermined the finances of your employer's scheme. There is little you can do about it, because the responsibility for ensuring your scheme has sufficient assets to pay future pensions lies with the scheme trustees and your employer.
• If you are saving in any form of private pension, where its value is more directly linked to the stock market, things may be looking a bit bleak. Unless your investment manager had already moved the bulk of your money into bonds or cash, then you have probably suffered a sudden large loss in your pension pot. One way to make this up would be by working longer and saving more. Of course over the long-term, markets could well recover.
• Your state pension may be small, but it is funded by the government directly out of taxation and goes up with inflation each year. Unless the government goes bust (most unlikely) or reneges on its promises to update pensions each year (unlikely too), then this is one aspect of your financial life that has not been altered by the credit crunch.
• All investment funds backing personal pensions will have been dented recently, but right now might, in fact, be a good time to turn that into a pension, by buying an annuity. Annuity rates for, say, a 65-year-old wanting a level income are hovering around the 7.7% to 7.8% level. That is high by recent standards, but some experts expect that rate to fall sharply in the coming year.
Graham Helton of Jobcentre Plus explains what can be done to get back into work
UK unemployment is at its highest level since September 1997 - having risen by 131,000 to 1.92 million in the September to November period, from the previous three months.
And that figure does not include the tens of thousands of jobs cut since November - from small firms to high-profile businesses such as Woolworths.
But Jobcentre Plus says there are still 530,000 job vacancies in the UK at any time.
People looking for a job can start with a database of jobs held by Jobcentre Plus. As well as doing this online, you can get information about positions and how to apply by telephone.
The website also gives advice on writing, or updating your CV - which an adviser at your local Jobcentre Plus office can also help with.
Careers advice is available, with bilingual advisers on hand. There are websites for people in England, in Scotland and in Wales.
For information about training or learning new skills, there are also websites for people living in England, in Scotland and in Wales.
Jobseekers who find themselves unemployed for more than six months have been guaranteed more support in getting back to work by the government, including extra training for would-be employees and financial incentives for employers.
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