It’s a couple of weeks now since I took part in Legal and General’s #MoneyHangout about pensions and retirement finances and to be honest I’m still trying to digest all the valuable information I learnt and act on it. There I was trying to pay attention during the hangout and be ready to ask my question on cue, and instead I found myself furiously scribbling notes as it was so useful!
Just to share with you some of the particularly useful points that I took away with me.
Firstly, to try to track down pensions that I have from old employers and ensure that all my details were up to date with them and to just generally know what I’ve got where. I know that I have at least two pensions that I have paid into over the years, in addition to my state pension, but to be totally honest I am pretty sure that at least one of those is still in my maiden name and probably has no knowledge of where I live, or the fact that I now have children. It’s on my to do list to track this down and update accordingly. Then I can go and get proper advice as to what to do with these two pensions.
Another useful tip, but one which I am actually on top of already, was around child benefit and National Insurance credits for mums. If you have children and claim child benefit for them then you are entitled to some National Insurance credits towards your state pension if you are not working whilst your children are under a certain age. However, if your partner earns over the threshold at which you don’t get Child Benefit (or have to pay it back via their tax return), you still need to register for it or you don’t get your NI credits. I believe you can register for it but just not claim it, but I would definitely advise you to get professional advice on this. We claim our Child Benefit every month and then pay it back via my husband’s annual tax return, partly so we ensured I got the NI credits, but also so that if something happened to my husband or his job I at least would still have the Child Benefit coming in every month to help me look after the kids. One of the panel also mentioned that you can go onto gov.uk somewhere and check how many years of NI credits you have towards your state pension. Another thing that is now on my to do list.
Finally, I was amazed to hear that people are setting up pensions for babies! Yes, you read that correctly, setting up pensions for their children when they are born. In a way it may seem crazy, but I can see the logic in doing so if you can afford it. Personally there are so many other things that I think we need to pay for between now and then (university fees in particular giving me sleepless nights already!) but it has given me a prod to think more about the children’s savings in general. Yet another thing that has gone on to the to do list!
Based on all the questions that Being Mrs C readers had left on my post before the hangout, my question was around being self employed and what you should do for a pension then. You can see the full answer from the panel below. My question is at about 13 minutes 30 seconds in.
There have been some big changes to pensions just at the start of this month and Michelle Cracknell, CEO of the Pensions Advisory Service, encourages you to be slightly cautious before making any rash decisions about what to do with your pension as a result. It’s certainly important to understand what the changes mean in terms of what you can do today, and what that might mean for in the future.
If you have the time though I would honestly advise that you make yourself a cuppa and sit and watch the whole hangout though – it’s only 30 minutes. There honestly are so many valuable points in there that I just can’t even try to cover them all here. Once the kids are back at school I plan to sit down and watch it again with the notes I made during it and work out what else I need to add to my to do list.
Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post and taking part in the Legal and General #MoneyHangout, but all views remain my own and I genuinely thought it was an incredibly useful hangout – so much so that I phoned my mum up and made her watch it afterwards!