When I started work in the 1980's the State retirement age was 65 for men and 60 for women. Much has changed since April 2010, with the introduction of the "New State Pension" so I have put together a few key points that I hope are useful, including a few links for further reading and a link to check your own State Pension forecast, so please read on...
1. The current new State Pension is £8,750 p.a paid weekly at the rate of £168.60 and is based on your National Insurance contribution record. The age at which you will qualify for the new State Pension depends on your date of birth which you can easily check here
2. The current State Pension age is due to increase to 68 between 2044 and 2046. However, UK government proposals are planning to bring this forward, so that the State Pension age may increase to 68 between 2037 and 2039.
3. You need to have 10 'qualifying years' to receive the State Pension but, most importantly, you need 35 qualifying years to get the full State Pension. You will be entitled to a proportion of the State Pension if you have between 10 and 35 years qualifying years. The link here provides more useful information on the new State Pension
4. You can check your entitlement to the new State pension by using this simple tool on the Gov UK website or contact them on 0800 731 0175.
5. Assuming you are not currently in receipt of the State Pension, if after checking your entitlement above you find you will not achieve 35 qualifying years, then I would suggest you visit this part of the Gov UK website for further information. If you claim benefits (i.e. because you cannot work), are unemployed, or are a full-time carer, you may be eligible for national insurance credits There is also the option to make voluntary national insurance contributions that may be worth considering, so I would suggest you read this link here for further reading and contact details for the UK Future Pensions Centre where you can discuss the options available to you.
So, quite a few things to think about and my suggested next steps would be :
Check out my article regarding previous employer schemes here to ensure you are aware of all your deferred pension entitlements and how much these are.
If you are unsure that you will have 35 qualifying years' service necessary to receive the full State Pension, then the steps above in this article will hopefully provide you with the tools to look into this further, so you can make an informed decision on any options that might be available to you in order to close the gap.
Catch up soon (and please don't forget to subscribe to get my latest updates)
ps. my thanks to Fay and Nigel for your positive feedback both on this site and your valuable suggestions for future articles, designed to help us all through The Retirement Maze.