It is very easy to get caught up in the pursuit of Construction NVQ and CSCS Card to the extent that one does not adequately plan for life after retirement. Getting a good construction job is no doubt important – but a good job alone does not guarantee that your sunset years will be financially secure.
When you first enter the job market, retirement usually seems a long way off. But having a well thought out plan ensures you do not have to scramble at the last minute.
There are two forms of pension available to construction professionals in the UK – private pension and state pension.
Whereas every construction professional is eligible for state pension, it is contingent upon your staying current on your National Insurance contribution. The exact state pension you will receive depends on how long you have been contributing prior to your retirement. Since the retirement age is 65 years, the earlier you start the larger your state pension will be.
There are two types of state pensions – basic and SERPS (State Earnings Related Pension Scheme). In basic state pensions, the pension amount is the same irrespective of one’s income as long as you stay current on contributions. Thus the basic state pension of a bricklayer that had contributed for 30 years prior to retirement will be the same as that of an architect that consistently made their contribution over an identical period.
This homogeneity is what differentiates the basic state pension from the SERPS. In the SERPS, a portion of your pension contribution will used to build a second pension plan that is proportional to your earnings. Unlike the basic state pension, you can opt out of a SERPS any time and have the funds transferred to a personal or corporate pension scheme.
Is the state pension enough?
The state pension is a good thing to have – but for many construction employees, it does not adequately cover their needs in a way that will allow them to maintain their current lifestyle after they retire. This where private pension plans find application. There is no specific amount one must contribute – it all boils down to your future plans and what you can afford.
Private pensions for construction professionals are divided into three – occupational, personal and stakeholder. Occupational pensions are established by employers and are often presented as a benefit for employees.
Occupational schemes may be a money purchase scheme where the employer and employee contribute to the employee’s pension account, or salary-related where the pension is computed based on the number of years one has been in the scheme and their salary in the final years prior to retirement.
Personal pension schemes are where one approaches an insurance company directly and contributes to their pension plan individually. Stakeholder pension schemes target low income earners and are meant to complement the state pension.