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When Should I Start a Pension? Advice for Starting a Pension at Different Ages

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

When it comes to pensions, it is always better to start early and get ahead.

The best time to start a pension is today, no matter how old you are. If you can, start saving in your 20s to make sure your pot is as big as possible! If you can’t start saving that early, however, it is never too late to start saving and to build a sizeable pension pot.

If you are over the age of 22, and under the state pension age, and earn more than £10,000 a year, your employer will have automatically enrolled you into a workplace pension scheme (Money Helper). Ask your employer if you are unsure about this.

The question you may be asking yourself is, when should I start a pension? Here’s a guide on how to start contributing into your pension pot when you’re in your 30s, in your 40s, and in your 50s.

A common answer to the question “at what age should I start a pension?” is 30.

Your 30s are, however, typically a time of high expenditure, with many people buying a house, getting married, and starting a family, making building savings a difficult task.

Even with several decades left until the typical retirement age of 67, it’s important to start planning to make your retirement as relaxing as possible. Anyone in their 30s now will not be able to claim their state pension until they’re 68, and based on the current value will be able to claim £179.60 a week ( Realistically, this is not enough to enjoy a comfortable retirement.

By joining your workplace scheme, and topping up your employer contributions as much as you feasibly can, you can start creating a substantial pension pot. The earlier you start, the longer your pot has to grow, and it could allow you to consider retiring as early as 55.

Bear in mind, however, that from 2028 the earliest age you will be able to draw from you state pension is changing to 57 (

They say life begins at 40, and so too could your pension.

As you venture into these years of your life, you will likely be approaching your peak salary and will already be on the housing ladder. Your expenditure may still be high if you have a family, however your life will likely be more settled, allowing you the opportunity to increase your pension contributions.

By increasing your contributions, you will qualify for greater tax relief and potentially boost your employer contributions. You will also help offset the gap created by starting your pension later in life than someone who started saving at 30.

It is also likely you will have had several jobs by this point. Consider searching for old pension schemes, and possibly even consolidating them.

You can also consider investing in property, with the buy-to-let market a possible source of income. If you start now, you still have 17 years before the typical retirement age, plenty of time to build up significant savings.

So, if you are wondering about how to start a pension at 40, then just know you still have plenty of options and time before retirement.

50 is not usually the given answer to question “at what age should I start my pension?”, however it is not too late.

Your 50s are a time where you have likely reached your peak salary and your expenditure has substantially decreased from your 30s and 40s. This presents a perfect opportunity to start increasing your pension contributions and building your savings.

If you do start your pension at 50, however, you may have to make concessions about when you stop working, and may have to continue beyond the typical retirement age of 67.

Make sure you trace your old pension pots and maximise your allowances to increase your chances of being able to keep your retirement plans on track.

If you find yourself growing tired of working, you could consider phased drawdown. This will allow you to draw from your pension pot as income, giving you the chance to reduce your working hours and retire gradually.

Downsizing is also a possibility if your children have moved out and your house is now too big for you, and investments still grant an opportunity to generate income.

When Should I Start a Pension?

The answer is that whilst it’s never too late to start your pension, it is better to start early.

The important thing to remember is your personal life circumstances, and to make sure you tailor your approach to building a pension pot accordingly. You always have options in this area.

If you have questions about your retirement, Reeves Independent can help put your mind at ease.

This article is for information only and should not be construed as advice or a recommendation. The investment strategies mentioned are examples only and may not be suitable for your particular: circumstances, tax position or objectives. Please seek independent financial advice before taking any action.

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