The short answer to do Final Salary Pensions increase with inflation is yes, they do increase with inflation. Final Salary Pensions as with all defined benefit schemes, increase with inflation both as benefit entitlements before pensionable age and also when in payment.
Final Salary Pension schemes commit to making statutory increases to pension entitlements. This is of benefit to individuals who leave the Final Salary scheme but have built up preserved benefits which are retained are worked out in the usual way using a combination of accrual rate, pensionable earning, and years’ service. Benefits are not lost once they leave employment.
Thankfully, there is a statutory requirement on the scheme to revalue the Final Salary benefits to the scheme’s Normal Retirement Age (NRA), at least trying to ensure that the pension/salary keeps pace with inflation. Scheme rules will manage how this is done and which measure of inflation they use (CPI, RPI).
All of these statutory requirements add to the pension scheme liabilities, and therefore their costs of running the scheme. The costs of providing a defined benefit scheme weigh heavily on the balance sheet of the sponsoring employer.
The Pension Protection Fund released figures in 2016 that more than 80% of defined benefit schemes were in deficit and were collective £800 billion in the red.
This is in contrast to a defined contribution pension (e.g., personal pension pot or autoenrollment pension) where there is no embedded or automatic account made for inflation. In this case, your pension funds should be reviewed regularly to check they are not being eroded by the effects of inflation. This mainly refers to cash deposits that are earning less than the stated rate of inflation.
From an investment risk perspective, defined benefit schemes manage the risk on behalf of their members taking account of inflation as part of their remit. One of the downsides of transferring to a defined contribution scheme is that managing this risk would then lie with you and the assistance of your Financial Adviser (if you have one).
However, transferring your Final Salary Pension could be suitable if all the benefits of transferring such as death benefits, enhanced tax-free cash and flexible access outweighed the loss of guaranteed income for life which increases each year in line with inflation.
The tax-free lump sum available from a defined benefit scheme will usually be arrived at by using what is known as a commutation factor where part of the annual pension is given up in return for a lump sum. This will vary from scheme to scheme, but it is generally less generous than the sum that can be taken after a transfer has taken place. The maximum, in any event, is usually 25% of the value below the Lifetime Allowance (LTA).
Any Cash Equivalent Transfer Value (CETV) offered by your Final Salary Pension Scheme needs to represent a good deal, and this is best assessed by a Pension Transfer Specialist (PTS) who is regulated by the financial conduct authority. The PTS will look at all the relevant financial details, your personal circumstances and how much pension in retirement you and any financially dependent people you have, are likely to need for the long term.
This article looked at an introduction do Final Salary Pensions increase with inflation but there is a great deal more to consider than is covered here. The advice can only be given to an individual after a thorough assessment of all personal (and their partner’s) financial circumstances.
The next step is to have an informal exploratory chat with a qualified adviser to see if it is worthwhile proceeding to the formal process known as regulated advice.
Average UK pension pot
According to one of the top pension providers in the UK, Aegon, the average value of a pension pot in the UK is currently around £50,000 with men having an average savings value of £73,600 and women with a savings value of £24,900. These figures relate to the cash value of defined contribution savings rather than Final Salary Pension Scheme funds which are pension investment assets with associated long-term liabilities (not separate pots of money with each member’s name on it).
The reason the average pension pot value for women is considerably lower than for men is because many women left paid work to have children and historically, they were generally paid less than men and therefore, were less able to contribute. Lower-income also means lower employer pension contributions.
Average pension pot values also vary considerably by county with Surrey averaging £88,000 and Avon, the lowest, averaging £35,000. Many self-employed people are not saving anywhere near enough for a comfortable retirement and, without the right level of National Insurance credits, will not be receiving the full state pension when they reach their state pension age.
Something is better than nothing and starting retirement savings as early as possible has fantastic monetary benefits when the effect of compounding positive returns comes into play over several decades of saving. It is worth noting that advice on pensions must only be given by those who are appropriately authorised and regulated to give pensions and investment advice.
Getting good financial advice from an adviser regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority is a proven way of improving the chances of ending up with a decent level of personal pension with the right level of annual income needed. Add to this a full state pension and the result should be a comfortable retirement at the desired retirement age.
Until Auto Enrolment became mandatory, many employers and employees were not contributing to their employees’ workplace pension. In fact, it is only relatively recently (in April 2019) that the minimum total contribution of the employer/employee rose to a minimum of 8% of salary.
This is not 8% of the full gross salary. If the salary exceeds the upper limit set by Auto Enrolment rules (subject to being changed by future legislation so not stated here) then the minimum amount will be lower. That being said, being auto-enrolled in an employer’s scheme should be a no-brainer unless your pension pot is so large it causes you a problem with your protected Lifetime allowance (if you are lucky enough to have this).
Pension savings attract valuable tax benefits representing a big boost to this method of saving versus using an ISA or putting your cash in the bank. In effect, your contributions are allocated from your gross income in full and any growth is tax-free. There are annual limits (£40,000) and lifetime limits (£1,073,100) but this does not usually affect the average person as you can see by the average UK pension pot size stated in this article.
As ever, getting good financial advice is key to implementing the right (suitable) investments for you whether these are for accumulating or decumulating your retirement savings. Putting together a bespoke plan is what Financial Planners excel at and the cost of creating your personal lifetime financial plan should be just a small fraction of the total monetary and wellbeing benefits you will harvest year after year.
Your financial plans should be reviewed on a regular basis to take account of changes that happen in your life as well as changes that occur in the economy and to take account of any changes in legislation or new regulations that might affect your long-term financial wellbeing. Doing nothing and leaving this to chance is unlikely to result in the best possible outcome and is therefore, more likely to result in a lower quality of life in retirement than desired.
Lifetime allowance 2021/22
The pensions Lifetime Allowance (LTA) caps the upper level at which tax-free cash can be withdrawn from your pension savings at the rate of 25% and the LTA is also used at age 75 to make a tax charge for the excess amount over the LTA if you have an excess. This is an area where forward planning with a financial adviser or financial planner can help with managing the amount of tax that might need to be paid due to a lifetime allowance charge when this important birthday arrives.
The LTA applies to all your pensions savings in aggregate even if they are in many different pension policies or schemes. Special rules apply to Final Salary Pension Schemes such that the value for LTA purposes is 20 times the annual pension entitlement. As an example, if you expect to get a pension of £50,000 per year your value for LTA purposes is £1,000,000 which is currently below the LTA, but you will need to add in all other defined contribution pension pots to arrive at the total value of your pension retirement savings.
The standard Lifetime Allowance for the current tax year (2021-2022) is £1,073,100 and it applies to the total amount (value) of your pension benefits across all your pension pots. It did not increase as expected in this year’s budget as it was expected to do from last year’s level in line with the consumer price index, but now it is set to remain at this year’s level for the next few years, but we will see whether this position changes.
It wasn’t that long ago that the LTA level was £1.8m. Then it started coming down, then back up again, now ‘frozen’. The subject of pensions tax relief is always the subject of much discussion amongst the pensions industry because HM Revenue ‘give away’ tens of £ billion each year in tax relief and they need to try to balance everybody’s needs. There is a perennial expectation that the higher rate of tax relief will be taken away from pension tax relief, but it hasn’t happened yet.
It is still possible to have a higher protected LTA than the standard one, but the bar is quite high as your pension savings would need to have been valued at £1,250,000 before the end of 2015-2016 tax-year and you must have ceased all private pension contributions by April 2016. If you think this is a possibility for you, speak to a financial adviser so they can check this for you as it is potentially worth an extra £44,225 in tax-free cash allowance.
The state pension does not count towards the LTA and continues to be paid out regardless of a person’s wealth. The entitlement to state pensions is based purely on National Insurance (NI) credits gained during your working years. Credits start to be earned at age 16 and end at your state pension age. NI Credits are given to those receiving Child Benefit so there is no need for them to pay voluntary NI contributions during their child-rearing years.
Worrying about the LTA is probably a good problem to have and dealing with it tax-efficiently can be quite a complex challenge especially, when considering estate planning and wealth transfer. As ever, a good financial planner will be able to discuss your options with you so you can be well informed how to handle this.
How much do i need to retire on uk
We need liquid assets to buy food and pay our bills. An example of an illiquid asset is a house or flat. We cannot take a brick from our property and use it to pay for food at the supermarket! Retirement savings need to be liquid enough to make funding your bank account quick and straightforward when you need it.
Most of us fund a bank account on a regular basis to meet recurring expenditures. So, when you retire from paid work your salary stops. Then where does that regular money come from that you need to pay the bills and have a good life?
If you stop earning an income before your state pension entitlement which is currently age 66, then your regular expenditure needs to be met from your savings unless you are going to be financially dependant on someone else. If you have less than 10 years National Insurance credits, you will not be entitled to the state pension.
If you want to retire at 60 years old and you think you will probably live until you are 90, that’s 30 years’ worth of retirement lifestyle to fund from your net worth (assets minus liabilities).
The generally observed spending pattern in retirement is for it to be front-loaded meaning retirees spend more money in the early years of retirement and then less as their mobility becomes an issue. If the average annual expenditure you require is £20,000 in today’s money, then the total sum required would be £600,000 over 30 years.
This does not mean that £600,000 is required from day one because if you are entitled to the full state pension then this regular income of approximately £9,300 per year reduces the average annual requirement down to £11,700 when your state pension starts. Therefore, many people choose their state pension age as their eventual retirement date.
Others choose to carry on working for as long as they can because they need the involvement that their working life gives them as well as the paid income. Tax-advantaged pension contributions are available up to age 75 and National Insurance contributions are not deducted when you reach state pension age.
See also How to build a Lifetime Financial Plan.
How much money do you need to retire on
The state pension is set at a level that should cover your essential living expenses but not much else. If you plan to have a meagre retirement lifestyle with no frills, then aiming for the state pension annual amount is probably a suitable guide.
However, this question is better answered by focusing on your personal circumstances in detail: How much do I need to retire?
How much pension do you need to retire on in the UK?
The minimum amount you need to retire in the UK could be thought of as the amount of the full state pension which is currently £179.60 per week at age 66. This figure is considered enough to meet essential living expenses but does not cover living accommodation costs such as rent or mortgage payments. In the UK, the social security system is a safety net for those who find themselves with little or no resources to fund their retirement lifestyle.
However, the amount you need to retire comfortably will naturally depend upon the retirement lifestyle you plan for and whether you are a single person household or a couple sharing the bills. So, it is very important to think about this carefully and well in advance of the day you intend to stop working for a living.
A financial planner will analyse your current financial position to check you have the resources to meet your retirement goals and develop a plan to help you get to where you want to be. Working out your annual income requirement for 10-, 20- or 30-years’ time is part art form part science.
A pension calculator is a tool used to take a snapshot of where you are now with your pension pot or where you need to be in x number of years’ time. It can help you work out what your pension contributions need to be and what pension income you might receive in x years’ time. Certain assumptions are used about investment growth, inflation, longevity, and such like which are bound to change over time. Another good reason why plans need regular reviews and appropriate adjustments made to those assumptions.
Many people accelerate their pension savings rate as they approach the last 10 years of working life because they realise, they may not have enough savings for a comfortable retirement lifestyle. To work out how much pension you need is better answered by How much money do you need to retire? Will you retire at state pension age or sooner? Perhaps much later in life or never!
An HMRC recognised UK pension scheme is the most tax-advantaged way of contributing relevant earnings to your pension savings which should therefore be an essential part of your retirement saving planning. It makes good financial sense to contribute as much as you can afford from your salaried taxable income to your pension savings and benefit from the tax relief. If you are self-employed like millions are in the UK, then you can still make tax-efficient pension savings from your earnings by using personal pensions.
If you need help working out the right amount of affordable contributions for your circumstances, it is best to consult a financial planner, or a financial adviser authorised and regulated by the financial conduct authority for help and advice. Start saving as early as you can in a workplace pension to reap the benefits of compounding positive investment returns over many years.
The current pension Annual Allowance is £40,000. To contribute a higher amount than this you will need to meet certain conditions defined by the carry-forward rules. Even non-earners such as homemakers can contribute up to £3,600 gross per year (£2,880 net of basic rate tax). It is possible to gift this amount to a child or grandchild for their private pension every year and benefit from the annual gifting exemption for inheritance tax purposes. It’s a win-win situation for those able to take advantage of long-term financial planning.
The pensions Lifetime Allowance (LTA) caps the upper level at which tax-free cash can be withdrawn from your pension savings which includes the total taken across occupational and private pensions. The LTA is also used at age 75 to make a tax charge for the excess amount over the LTA if you have one. Age 55 is currently the earliest age at which tax-free cash can be taken and this age limit will rise to 57 in 2028.