The state pension is something that most people in the UK take for granted. Everyone gets it, so if you've not been saving up, then at least you'll be able to fall back on that, and maybe sell a few of your organs if you're stuck... right?
Well, around 6.1 million people aged 40-65 could actually miss out of getting a full state pension because they haven't made enough contributions, says a new study.
Thanks to needing to be in full-time work for 30 years, that means that 39% of women and 14% of men in this age group will fall short, and, seeing as the minimum number of years rising from 30 to 35 years next year, that could mean even more people missing out.
Provided you've made enough National Insurance contributions, there'll be a new flat rate pension. This is bad news for certain regions, as the table shows below.
The study suggests that those who took time out from work to raise children are likely to be hit hardest, as well as people who have had long term illnesses. According to figures, 10% of people stopped working to look after a family member, while 11% took time out to retrain or study. It seems unfair that they should be penalised for those things.
Andrew Megson of Partnership, who conducted the study, said: "When people plan their retirement finances, many assume that they will be eligible for the full state pension. However, almost a third have not worked for the 30 years required and if they have not taken any action to ensure they either make voluntary contributions or receive the relevant credits they may well face a nasty shock in retirement."
"Others who opted out of the state second pension may also find that the support that they receive from the Government is less than they hoped. Therefore, it is vital when planning your retirement finances to ensure that you not only understand how much you will receive as part of the state pension but consider making up the shortfall if at all possible."
What Can You Do?
If you're concerned about this, then you can make voluntarily payments to the National Insurance. You can find out more about this, here. There's also a state pension calculator which will help. You can also get National Insurance credits if you're unemployed or receiving benefits.
Or, if you prefer, you can get yourself a state pension forecast by calling 0345 3000168, go to gov.uk/state-pension-statement, or writing to The Pension Service 9, Mail Handling Site A, Wolverhampton, WV98 1LU,