Things you can do now to help your future self

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Morgan Laing

May 20, 2024

3 mins read

You don’t need a time machine to help out your future self. Here are five things you can do today that could benefit you further down the line.

1. Start an emergency fund

There may be occasions where you need to part with money unexpectedly (think: urgent home or car repairs). Or there may be a time when you don’t have as much money coming into your household as you once did.

But setting aside a bit of money now could help you afford any unexpected expenses that crop up later. So have a think about how much you’d be comfortable saving for emergencies. You might then want to put this money in something like an instant-access savings account.

Some people like to have enough in their emergency fund to cover their essentials for three to six months. So if you’re looking to set a goal, you might choose to take your essential monthly outgoings and multiply the total by three to calculate your minimum “ideal” emergency fund. But everyone’s circumstances are different. Remember, even saving a small amount each month can help you build up your emergency pot over time. 

2. Think about your debt

Worried about debt? Taking steps to tackle it now could help you feel more in control of your finances in future.

It’s important to make sure you know how much you owe. Look at your finances overall and work out how much you can set aside to pay your debts off. You can check MoneyHelper to understand which debts it might be best to pay off first.

And remember, there are places you can turn to for help. For example, you can get free impartial debt advice from StepChange Debt Charity or Citizens Advice.

3. Consider the lifestyle you want in retirement

Having a clear idea of what you want your retirement to look like can help you understand how much money you’ll need.

You can check the Retirement Living Standards to find out what you might need for a ‘minimum’, ‘moderate’ and ‘comfortable’ standard of living in retirement. 

4. Understand the benefits of a pension plan

Currently paying into a pension plan? Knowing how it works – and understanding what you can do for it now – could benefit you later.

If your employer set up your plan, they usually need to pay in a minimum of 3% of your ‘qualifying earnings’, while your minimum is usually 5%. So the minimum total is 8%. But your employer might be willing to pay in more than their minimum or even match what you’re paying in up to a certain point. It’s worth asking them to see what’s possible, as this could help increase the value of your plan. Just remember, a pension is an investment. Its value can go down as well as up and you could get back less than was paid in. 

Pension plans also come with tax benefits, which essentially means you can get a bit of a financial boost from the government. 

It’s worth checking what you’re paying into your pension plan and making sure it’s right for your circumstances. 

You can also use our pension calculator to find out how much you could have across your pension plans in future.

5. Track down your ‘lost’ pension plans

You probably want to make sure you’ll get all the money you’re entitled to in retirement. So if you have pension plans that you’ve lost track of, it’s worth trying to find them.  

If you can’t find any paperwork that has information about your old plan(s), you can try using the government’s Pension Tracing Service. This can help you find contact details for pension schemes you might’ve paid into. You can then use these details to get more information. 

Once you’ve found your plans, you could consider bringing them together with what’s known as a pension transfer. You might choose to bring your plans together with your current provider or with different provider altogether. It’s important to shop around to see what’s right for you. 

Bringing your plans together means you can see them all in one place. And it can help you cut down on admin. But bringing pension plans together won't be right for everyone. You could lose money by giving up any guarantees or benefits you might get from other pension plans. If you're unsure, you should seek financial advice. You can also find out some more information from MoneyHelper.

Bring your pension plans together with Standard Life

Want to bring your pension plans together into one Standard Life plan? Just give us three details and we’ll get things moving.


  • We won’t charge you to bring your pension plans together
  • You’ll be able to start, stop or change your payments in at any time
  • You can manage your money online or on our app

Transfer your plans


The information here is based on our understanding in May 2024 and shouldn’t be taken as financial advice.

A pension is an investment. Its value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in.

Your own personal circumstances, including where you live in the UK, will have an impact on the tax you pay. Laws and tax rules may change in the future.

Standard Life accepts no responsibility for information in external websites. These are provided for general information.

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