OAP, more like No AP (As in: no, I ain’t started saving for my pension)
I totally get it, pensions sound dull af. I mean who honestly wants to lock their money away for the next million years when they could be out enjoying themselves!?
But the truth is; whilst you don’t need to sacrifice everything that brings you joy in the present for the sake of #futureyou, you do need to start taking your future financial sitch seriously – and here are my top 6 reasons why:
1. A pension is basically your salary in retirement, so unless you’re planning to work for the rest of your life you should probably start taking an interest.
Of course, today’s OAP’s have the State Pension to rely on – but with this totalling £9k a year, there’s no way my boujee ass will survive! Plus, as we’ve all learnt over the past few months, s*!t happens, and no one can guarantee that the State Pension will even exist when we reach the ever-increasing retirement age. So it’s super important we have our own savings to rely on in retirement.
2. You’re missing out on some serious free cash.
Don’t try to deny it – we all love a good freebie. And free cash that you can spend on whatever you want is far more exciting than a logo T-shirt that will never be anything more than a PJ top. Too many people focus on the money they’re ‘losing’ when they pay into their pension, rather than the free cash money they’re gaining (in the form of contributions from their employer and tax relief from the government). Opting out of your workplace pension is basically like saying no to a pay rise for doing zero extra work – you can decide for yourself whether you think that’s a good idea.
3. Pensions are growers, not showers.
When it comes to long term savings, compounding is key. When you’re young it’s easy to think ‘I really need this money now, I’ll start saving for retirement when I’m older and have a higher salary’. And whilst this logic seems reasonable, the part people forget is compounding – probably because this is a term more of you threw into your brain bin along with trigonometry many years ago.
As a reminder, compounding is when your money makes more money. Which means, the money you pay into your pension now is far more valuable than the money you will pay in in the future – because it has more time to grow. Put it this way, if you put £5k into your pension now and left it for 40 years (earning a return of 5% each year), you’d have a whopping £35k. That same amount invested for 10 years would only be worth £8k – I know what number I’d prefer!
4. The sooner you start, the easier it is.
Saving for your pension really is one of those ripping off the band-aid type things – just get it over and done with! I’m lucky enough to have started my grad job in the pensions industry, and therefore I’ve been contributing from my very first paycheck. This means I’ve never noticed a hit to my monthly income. Unfortunately, lots of people choose to opt-out of their pension when they enter the big scary world of adulting, meaning they quickly get used to their salary and find it all the more difficult to cut back on those bottomless brunches. The trick is to make sure you’ve got used to contributing before you’ve got 2 kids, a mortgage and a Gucci addiction to fund.
5. You only get out what you put in.
Unlike older generations, who got a really cushty deal with their defined benefit pensions (which means they’re paid a guaranteed amount each year from their employer until they die). Most of us millennial’s are only entitled to defined contribution schemes, which basically means that we have a pot of money (made up of our contributions, the free cash money from our boss and the government, and hopefully some investment growth) that we have to live off for the rest of our lives. So unless you’re prepared to miss out on the weekly trip to the bingo hall because you’ve used up your £2.08 budget for the week, you’d better start saving!
6. As with most things in life, it’s more difficult for women.
Despite the significant progress that has been made in important issues like the gender pay gap, the facts remain that women are more likely than men to take time out of their career to care for their children – and I don’t blame them, if I had grown something inside me for the best part of a year I probably wouldn’t want to let it out of my sight either – but during this time, women are likely to be missing out on valuable pension contributions. So it’s essential to start saving earlier to create a buffer for any career gaps.
Fingers crossed this blog has helped you understand why it’s so important that you start saving for retirement, no matter what age you are! If you want to find out more about your pension, how much you should be saving and when you can finally access that damn money – head over to my blog.
Get Woke Not Broke is the go-to blog for all hard-working millennial mofo’s looking to get their financial s*!t together. Holly originally started the blog to convince young people to give AF about their pensions, but she now uses her knowledge as an Investment Consultant to write straight talkin’ money blogs on all things personal finance.