As a money blogger, you would think that I have all my ducks in a row with my finances. Whilst I have worked hard to pay off my debts and go self-employed, there is one area where I have a complete blind spot. One word: pensions.
You see, the thing is…every time I start thinking that I need to sort out my pension, I get a little anxious. It all started when I was working for barely above minimum wage, and realistically, I couldn't afford to save anything into my pension (or so I thought). Since then, it keeps being put on the back burner. Firstly it was because I was waiting for us to be married, so that both Tony and I could look into our pensions together. Then I was waiting to make sure we had a steady self-employed income. And now, here we are, I've just turn 29 and I still don't have a pension arranged.
The pension gap
We all know that on average, women earn 18% less than men do, which is shocking in this day and age. PensionBee have been examining what effect this has on women's pensions, and found that women who are over 45 years old will have 22% less in their pension than men in the same age group. Surprisingly, it isn't until roughly aged 36 that the divide takes place, assuming that it occurs after a woman has had a child. Even if they return to work, women are likely to get paid less after having a child for a multitude of reasons.
This is reflected within my own marriage, even though I have earned significantly more than Tony over the years. He had a work place pension in place, whereas I left my job before the company got around to sorting out a workplace pension. Although his contributions may have been small, they were regular, against my non-existent pension provisions.
My pension plans
So, what am I going to do about my lack of pension?
The first thing to do is to stop burying my head in the sand. Yes, in an ideal world I would have been contributing to my pension from aged 18, and have 11 years of contributions behind my belt, but I don't. I need to face us to this fact and instead of putting my pension on a back burner, I need to make it a priority in the next month. You can even check up on me next month and ask if I've sorted it!
Even if I can't contribute my ideal amount right now, I want to start saving something.
What if you have pensions from here, there and everywhere
Many of you might have a complete blind spot when it comes to pensions, much like me. But what if you have been saving into workplace pensions over the years, but you're not quite sure where you stand? PensionBee allow you to combine all of your pensions, very, very easily (seriously, check out their reviews on TrustPilot). Once you have signed up, you can give them a few details, and they will automatically track down your pensions. Genius!
Once they have found your pensions, they will put them into your choice of the three plans they offer. These are managed by BlackRock and State Street who are two of the largest money managers in the world.
You can access your pension on an online dashboard, The BeeHive, where you have 24/7 access to tracking your pension. PensionBee's calculator can also help you to choose how much to contribute, which is extremely useful. You simply set a retirement goal and it'll tell you what you'll need to save in order to reach it.
If you have been struggling to track down your pensions, or you have been putting it on the back burner, then why not schedule some time in to take a look at PensionBee and see if they can help you out with your pension?
Please be aware that any form of investment can go up and down and you may want to consider advice from a qualified IFA.