Are you facing a ‘nasty surprise’ in retirement? Britons urged to check state pension forecast now

Pensioner looks worried

People approaching retirement are being urged to check their state pension forecast

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 17/02/2024

- 09:40

Some 1.2 million households rely on the state pension as their primary source of income in retirement, official data shows

Britons are being urged to check how much state pension they’re set to get before they retire, to avoid running the risk of a “nasty surprise”.

More than a third of retirees did not get a state pension forecast before they retired, new research shows.

A survey of more than 1,000 retired and semi-retired over 55s found four in 10 (38 per cent) had not checked their forecast.

This increased to 40 per cent among those aged 55 to 64, meaning they had not yet reached state pension age, and 46 per cent who claimed to have retired earlier than they had expected.

Among the almost two-thirds of retirees who did check their forecasted state pension income, nearly a fifth (17 per cent) said it was at least £250 less per year than they were expecting, the research from Just Group found.

Meanwhile, one in ten (nine per cent) of those who did check were pleased to find their state pension was at least £250 more per year than they had thought.

Stephen Lowe, group communications director at retirement specialist Just Group, urged working-age Britons to get a state pension forecast before they retire, so they don’t get a shock when they do leave the workforce.

He said: “The state pension is the bedrock of retirement income for millions of retired households.

“It’s easy to see why people may assume they’ll simply get the full state pension, but for many people this won’t be the case.

“The last thing these households need when they come to retire is the nasty surprise that their state pension is less than they thought.”

Mr Lowe said he “urges anyone approaching retirement” to use the government’s state pension forecast service, “ideally in advance of beginning to retire”.

The state pension forecast tool is available on the government website, and it’s also possible for those not reaching state pension age within 30 days to get a forecast by post.

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The service will tell people how much state pension they are set to get, plus how to increase it, if they can.

Mr Lowe added: “There are a number of factors that affect the total value of an individual’s state pension. People may be missing National Insurance credits because they were claiming benefits whilst they were ill, unemployed or for other such reasons.

“Going back to fill these gaps in your National Insurance record or buying extra credits can shore up the state pension you’re entitled to receive.

“Getting an accurate, up to date picture of what income you can expect in retirement is an important first step in planning later life finances.”

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