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Clock ticks on pension changes

Calendar highlighting 5th April
BBC Radio 4's Money Box
Saturday, 6 March 2010 at 1204 GMT On Radio 4 and Online

People are being urged to get their pension affairs in order ahead of important rule changes.

The minimum retirement age will rise from 50 to 55 at the end of the tax year. Anyone who is considering early retirement now needs to make their mind up quick because after April 5th they will have to wait until they are at least 55.

NICs bargain

A one time only offer for some people to make good missing National Insurance Contributions also expires on the same date.

Particular groups of people who have not paid enough NICs to get a full state pension could pay £351 now for an additional £100 a year for life.

The eligible groups are women born between 6 April 1938 and 23 October 1944 or men born between 6 April 1933 and 23 October 1939 who have a NIC gap in any of the six years 1996/97 to 2001/02.

If you would like further information call the concession helpline: 0845 602 1785.This is a recorded message which enables callers to leave their details and effectively "log" their claim.

Tom McPhail from financial advisors Hargreaves Lansdowne explains early retirement changes and Malcolm McLean from the Pensions Advisory Service gives a run down of the NICs special offer.

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Bulls in a china shop

With our own economy in the doldrums and the stock market here much where it was 12 years ago what better than to tempt us to go east and hitch our money to the dragon.

China's economy is now growing at 8% a year and that will soon take it from the third to the second biggest in the world.

So should you try to catch the dragon's tail? Or are there too many bulls in the China shop?

One of Britain's biggest fund managers Fidelity is in the process of launching its new china fund. It will be run by its legendary fund manager Anthony Bolton, now out of retirement and in Hong Kong.

But the new fund hasn't impressed all financial commentators. Editor of Money Week Merryn Somerset Webb puts her concerns over the funds charges to Fidelity's head of retail, Gary Shaughnessy.

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No 1 personal finance

Should children be taught how to manage their money from an early age? The Government thinks so. And it's recruited a money savvy urban music star to help get the message across.

The artist funded his first album partly from selling clothes. Money advice is featuring more in the curriculum in schools although some experts say it's not always taught in an imaginative way.

Money Box reporter Gillian Lacey-Solymar went to St Matthew Academy in South East London to find out more.

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Cash ISA pitfalls

Even the best headline rates on ISAs look pretty paltry to most at the moment. But just when you think you've found a decent rate in the best buy tables, the all important small print puts a different slant on things.

Editor of Moneysupermarket.com Clare Francis alerts listeners to some of the pitfalls including changing rates, transfer fees, fixed terms and more.

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BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday at 1204 GMT and repeated on Sunday at 2102 GMT.



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