People aged over-50 are facing a lifetime of financial insecurity after a recent report highlighted which age group is being hit the hardest by the cost of living crisis. Research from Edinburgh University’s Smart Data Foundry found economic inactivity rates have risen by a third for the over-50s age group since 2019.
The research also suggests that people aged 50 to 54 could experience double the financial vulnerability risk than those aged 70 to 74. Record-breaking rises in inflation and soaring energy bills over recent months have left those in their 50s and 60s facing the “perfect storm” of redundancy and ill-health, combined with a lack of savings on pension provisions, according to the leading UK data scientists.
A recent survey of 1,000 people carried out by Opinium on behalf of Hargreaves Lansdown suggests that over one-third (34%) of workers aged between 45-54 have no plan in place for their remaining working years. This compares to roughly a quarter of 35-to-44-year-olds and 25-34-year-olds who had no plan for the time between age 50 and retirement.
Some 42 per cent of those in the 45-54 age group said they planned to continue in their current job and work full-time. A further 10 per cent said they would stay in the same role but move to part-time hours - only five per cent said they planned to stop work completely.
Commenting on the research at the time, Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “These findings point to a worrying lack of planning among those closest to retirement on how they plan to spend their remaining working years.
"The pandemic may well have played a part in this with the economic upheaval potentially causing chaos for people’s retirement planning with many older workers retiring early after being made redundant."
She continued: "There’s also the chance that the investment market volatility we saw earlier in the pandemic has had an impact on people’s pensions causing them to put off their plans for retirement a while longer.
“Easing into retirement by working part time is often a better way of managing such a huge change from a financial and emotional wellbeing perspective.”
While this is encouraging for those with a workplace or private pension, for many who opted out, or didn’t meet the £10,000 minimum requirement for auto-enrolment, a State Pension may be their best option for a retirement income, but eligibility is not automatic.
State Pension is a contributory payment and In 2019, data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) revealed that of the 1.1 million people who claim the new State Pension, just under 500,000 (44%) receive the full amount of £185.15 each week.
The amount of State Pension people will receive depends on how long they have been making National Insurance (NI) contributions towards it.
In October 2020, the UK Government raised the State Pension age to 66 for both men and women with further plans to increase this to 68 over the coming years.
But, how many years of NI contributions do you need to make in order to qualify for the full, ‘new’ State Pension?
You will need at least 10 qualifying years on your NI record to get any State Pension and they don’t have to be 10 qualifying years in a row.
This means for 10 years at least one or more of the following applied to you:
you were working and paid NI contributions
you were getting NI credits for example if you were unemployed, ill, a parent or a carer
you were paying voluntary NI contributions
If you have lived or worked abroad you might still be able to get some New State Pension.
You might also qualify if you have paid married women’s or widow’s reduced rate contributions - find out more about this on the GOV.UK website here.
You will need 35 qualifying years to receive the New full State Pension if you do not have a NI record before 6 April 2016.
For people who have contributed between 10 and 35 years, they are entitled to a portion of the new State Pension.
Qualifying years if you are working
When you’re working you pay NI and get a qualifying year if:
you’re employed and earning over £190 a week from one employer
you’re self-employed and paying NI contributions
You might not pay NI contributions because you’re earning less than £190 a week. You may still get a qualifying year if you earn between £123 and £190 a week from one employer.
Qualifying years if you are not working
You may get NI credits if you cannot work - for example because of illness or disability, or if you’re a carer or you’re unemployed.
You can get NI credits if you:
claim Child Benefit for a child under 12 (or under 16 before 2010)
get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance
receive Carer’s Allowance
If you are not working or getting NI credits
You might be able to pay voluntary NI contributions if you’re not in one of these groups but want to increase your State Pension amount. Find out more on the GOV.UK website here.
What if there are gaps in your NI record?
You can have gaps in your NI record and still get the full new State Pension.
You can get a State Pension statement which will tell you how much State Pension you may get. You can then apply for a NI statement from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to check if your record has gaps.
If you have gaps in your NI record that would prevent you from getting the full new State Pension, you may be able to:
get NI credits
make voluntary NI contributions
Check your National Insurance record here.
Check your State Pension age
Check your State Pension age using the free Gov.uk online tool here.
This will tell you:
- when you will reach State Pension age
- your Pension Credit qualifying age
To keep up to date with the latest State Pension news, join our Money Saving Scotland Facebook page here, or subscribe to our newsletter which goes out four times each week - sign up here.
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