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

Updated: Mar 8


Starting a pension as soon as possible is always the best course of action.


The ideal time to begin a pension is right now, regardless of your age. If possible, begin saving in your twenties to ensure that your retirement savings are as substantial as they can be. However, if that is not an option, it is never too late to start contributing and building a substantial pension fund.


If you are between the ages of 22 and the state pension age, and earn over £10,000 annually, your employer is required to enrol you in a workplace pension scheme. Check with your employer if you are unsure about your enrolment status.


You may be wondering when the right time to start a pension is. Here's a guide on how to start contributing to your pension fund in your thirties, forties, and fifties.


Should you start a pension at 30?


The best age to start a pension is a widely debated topic, but many believe that 30 is the ideal time to begin. However, the expenses of purchasing a home, starting a family, and tying the knot during your 30s can make saving difficult.


For someone currently in their 30s, the state pension age will be 68 at the time of their retirement. This is different from the current state retirement age of 66, as for those born after 5 April 1960 the age will gradually rise each month and by one month at a time until it reaches 67 in April 2028. Eventually it will rise to 68, affecting those born after April 1977.


The State Pension is unlikely to provide enough money to fund a comfortable lifestyle. That's why it is important to think about participating in your workplace pension scheme and supplementing your employer contributions as much as possible. This way you can start building a substantial pension fund. The earlier you start, the more time your fund has to grow.


It is important to note that from 2028, the earliest age for accessing your state pension will change to 57 (GOV.uk).


Life beings at 40…


As you enter your 40s, it's never too late to start planning for your retirement. At this stage in life, you may be reaching the peak of your earning potential and may have a more stable financial situation, allowing you to increase your pension contributions.


By doing so, you can take advantage of tax relief and potentially enhance your employer contributions, which can make up for the delay in starting your pension earlier. Additionally, it's possible that you may have held multiple jobs, so it's wise to track down any previous pension schemes and consider consolidating them.


Investing in real estate, such as a buy-to-let property, can also provide a source of income for your future. You still have ample time to accumulate substantial savings in your forties, as your sixties are still some distance into the future. Your pension pot still has decades of potential growth ahead.


So, if you're looking to start a pension in your 40s, rest assured that you have many options and a significant amount of time to plan for a comfortable retirement.


Is starting a pension at 50 too late?


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.



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. No action should be taken without independent professional financial advice as any actions on your pension may be irrevocable and have a big impact on your income in retirement.

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