What questions are Brits asking about pensions?

Pensions & retirement 18 November 2021

Pensions are a reliable way of saving for retirement, but they can be a little confusing. So, we've collected Google search data to discover the most common pension-related questions Brits have asked over the last 12 months. And to help you save time, we've done the research for you to find answers to these common questions.

How much is a State Pension?

Unsurprisingly, the most common pension question is 'how much is a State Pension?', with 288,000 annual Google searches. A further 57,600 people also searched ‘when will I get my State Pension?' within the same time frame. So let's explore both:

  • The full State Pension is available once you've reached the national retirement age (66, but is set to increase to 68 by 2039), and have a minimum of 30 years of National Insurance contributions.
  • This would entitle you to receive £179.60 per week in State Pension payments. If you have fewer than 30 qualifying years, you'll receive £137.60 per week.

How much is the State Pension for a married couple?

34,800 searches on Google each year for 'how much is the State Pension for a married couple?', suggests that there's some confusion.

Each retiree is counted separately. So, if both have contributed National Insurance credits for 30 years, a couple will receive a combined £359.20 per week (£179.60 x 2).

How to claim a State Pension?

With 21,600 searches each month for ‘how to claim State Pension?', we're here to assure you that it's fairly a relatively straightforward process. You'll get a pension invitation letter in the post that explains your next steps usually within two months of reaching State Pension age. However, if you don't receive your form, you can also apply online.

What is a pension credit?

Pension credits are a hot topic, with 111,600 Google searchers having asked what they are over the last 12 months. While each retiree receives State Pension payments, there are other top-up forms of income available.

These are usually reserved for people who are carers, disabled, or responsible for children. You might be able to claim Pension Credits to help with council tax, dental or hospital costs, or heating bills.

Are pensions taxable?

If you're one of the 69,120 people who searched ‘are pensions taxable?' on Google over the last 12 months: the answer depends. Regarding your monthly pension payments, if you receive more than your personal allowance (2021/2022: £12,570), you will be taxed accordingly. However, it is also possible to claim up to 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free lump sum upon retirement (from the age of 55).

Are pensions worth it?

Brits seeking assurances around their financial future are questioning whether pension pots are a good way to save. In fact, 46,080 individuals entered this exact search into Google within the last 12 months alone.

The short answer is yes, investing in a private pension is worth it. Not only are you putting aside a little money from your salary each month, but your employer is also obliged to top it up too. You may also benefit from tax relief upon your contributions, which means that for every £80 of contribution, a basic rate taxpayer would benefit from £20 in tax relief, meaning that £100 would be the total contribution, which represents immediate growth on your savings.

Pensions: can you cash them?

As well as many Brits wondering whether pensions are worth it, a resounding 24,480 more also searched for ‘pensions can you cash them?' in the last 12 months. This indicates that many believe they can make their money go further than their pension plans allow.

It is possible to cash in 25% of your pension pot as a tax-free lump sum when you reach the age of 55. You can spend it however you want, from investing to purchasing property. You're also able to withdraw the remaining 75% as you like, but you'll be subject to standard tax rates, as well as pension withdrawal charges outlined in your agreement.

How much pension do I need?

The last 12 months saw 19,200 Brits ask, ‘how much pension do I need?', to put themselves in the strongest position possible upon retirement. To answer this, it's important to think about how long you'll need your pension. As a general rule of thumb, many advisers recommend that you save approximately 25 times your annual expenditure (to give yourself enough for 25 years of retirement).

What happens to my pension when I die?

While it's recommended that you save 25 years' worth of pension, what happens to your pot if you die within 10 years of retiring, for example? As it happens, 21,600 Brits have the same concern. However, there's no need to worry, your family or beneficiaries will have access to all of your money. They can even choose to take it as a lump sum or continue with your monthly payments.

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