A pension is a long-term investment. Its value can go down as well as up and could be worth less than was paid in. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. Your own circumstances and where you live in the UK will also have an impact on tax treatment.

How much should I pay into my pension plan?

We all have our own ideas about what life might be like after retirement. Whether you want to stop working or reduce your hours, you’ll still need an income to fund everyday life and other costs.

You might be wondering how much money you’ll need to have a comfortable retirement. Are you paying enough into your pension plan to make it happen? What can you do if you aren’t paying enough?

These are all big questions that are natural to ask. Don’t worry if you haven’t got the answers already to hand, as this page can help you get a better idea of how your pension savings and your goals stack up.

Next, we’ll look at one of the key questions you might be asking yourself.

How much do I need to retire?

This is probably the biggest question for many of us. It also happens to be one of the trickiest to answer without a helping hand. Aside from general living costs, such as food and bills, there are also leisure costs and other expenses you might want to consider. 

To help you work out the rest, we’ve developed a quick and easy retirement tool. It lets you enter various costs to start building an idea of what your life might cost in retirement.

Give it a try here:

Try the tool

Are your pension savings on track?

Now that you have a better idea of what your lifestyle might cost in retirement, the next step is to see if you’ll be able to afford it. To get a better idea, you could look at the following:

  • How much you’re paying into your current workplace or personal pension
  • If you have any old workplace or personal pensions and what they’re worth
  • How much you have in other savings (for example: an ISA, bank or building society account)
  • How much state pension you might receive at state retirement age 

What's your current pension plan worth?

You can get a rough idea of how much money your pension plan could give you in future. We have a pension calculator that can help you decide if your current pension payments will be enough to fund your retirement lifestyle.

It’s quick, easy to use and can help you see if you should be paying more to meet your goals.

Try our pension calculator

Your Workplace Pensions

When it comes to workplace pensions, there are two key things you can think about:

Your current workplace pension

If your employer has enrolled you in a Standard Life workplace pension, you can log in to see what it’s currently worth manage your account and more.
You can even enter this amount into our pension calculator to give you an even better idea of how much you currently have.

Your old workplace pensions

If you’ve had many jobs and workplace pensions over the years, it is possible to transfer them all together into one pension plan with Standard Life.
Transferring isn’t for everyone, but it could save you time and effort when managing your savings, as it puts all your pension money into one place that you can see easily.

Your other savings

If you’re saving money somewhere else other than your pension plan, you could factor this into your retirement savings plan. For example, you could have money saved into an ISA that you’re keeping for retirement. It’s worth looking at all of your retirement savings as a whole to see where you are in relation to what you’re likely to need in later life.

Your State Pension

If you’re eligible, you could even factor State Pension payments into your retirement savings planning. The State Pension alone is unlikely to be enough to have a comfortable lifestyle, but it’ll still be a part of your regular income once you reach state retirement age.

We have a State Pension guide that explains what it is, when you can get it and more.

State pension guide

You can also find out how much state pension you could get, when you can get it and if you could increase it using the Government’s ‘Check Your State Pension’ tool.

See how much you could get

If you don't think you're saving enough

Try not to panic if you’re not where you thought you’d be. Even putting away a bit more into your pension plan each month or as a lump sum could help. And don’t forget, if you’re paying into a workplace pension plan, your employer could match or even pay a little more than your payments to give you a boost.

You could even change the funds your pension plan is invested in, but it’s important to not panic and switch pension funds without first understanding how it could impact your money. If in doubt, seek financial advice to see what could be best for your goals. There is likely to be a charge for this.

If you’re a Standard Life customer you can also top up your pension plan. Even if your retirement savings are on track, an extra payment could make a big difference.

Find out more about pension plan top ups and make one here: 

Pension Top Ups

More things to think about