Pensions continue to be an important topic in the media in the UK and across the EU as state pensions are constantly being changed and cuts made in some countries. The state pension, in particular, is a topic that is affecting many people.

There is constant uncertainty around how much people will get as their final pensions. Many Workers wait too long to start to plan their retirement and find out that they are not going to be able to maintain their Standard Of Living into their retirement or even to be able to afford to retire at all.

The state pension

The government is under pressure over the current state pensions that are paid out to the public. Recent changes have seen the age that workers can now start to receive their pension increase. This means that many workers have now had to rethink their retirement plans and instead continue to work for a more time than they had planned.

Current state pension age is 65 for men and 64 for women. In the next few years however the age at which recipients will be eligible for pension payments will increase to 68 by 2046. For most people, this means that workers are having to prolong their working career. For some workers, it is not feasible to keep working in more physically demanding jobs.

It is also estimated that almost one in two workers in the UK are not currently part of any pension scheme. The largest age group of workers that are not covered are the eighteen to twenty-four year old's. It is estimated that only one in 10 workers in this category are paying into a pension plan and saving for their non-working life.

Legislation has been brought in to change this. However, this is only the tip of the iceberg and many workers will need to ensure that more savings are made in order to maintain a high standard of living into retirement.

Current rates

The current upper state pension rate is £159.55 per week. It is important to point out that this is the upper limit of the state pension that is paid out and only to those with 35 qualifying years of national insurance records.

For many workers this is not going to be enough to cover living costs in the future and considering that many employees will not reach the full 35 years of insurance payments needed to achieve the full pay-out, many workers are faced with no option but to continue working.

Age UK, one of the leading charities working for older people in the UK are urging workers to examine their pensions and saving options on a regular basis to ensure that pensions are being managed effectively. Workers need to be sure that they are saving enough to cover living expenses in the future. There are a number of public and private pension schemes available for workers at every stage of their working career. There have been recent changes to the hotline for checking on pensions, which has now been made free.