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Women Talk Pensions: "it's a whole minefield really"

By Mike Narouei, Content Producer at Boring Money

26 Sep, 2019

Stick the kettle on. Fetch the custard creams. Let’s talk money.

In the first of our Women Talk Finance confessionals, the WTF ladies are spilling the beans on pensions. Are they really as confusing as the jargon makes them seem? No. Does it get easier once you’ve started? Yes. So don’t panic – let’s sort through this pension stuff together.

We’re not sure what we’ll actually get when we retire

“My husband has been paying in about £100 a month into his pension and has been for 15 years. I have an NHS pension – I put money in, they put money in – but I have no idea what’s in there or what I’ll get.” - Ruth

“When I first got divorced I wasn’t financially savvy at all. So I had to change and learn and took charge of trying to find the cheapest insurance policies – used comparison sites and that. But with pensions I don’t have a clue. I have to wait till I’m 67 but I don’t know what I’ll get, when I’ll get it, and what things like annuities are.” - Karen

“I only have pensions from my workplaces and I have no idea what they’re worth. Or how I’d go about working it out. I just pay them automatically, and pay some AVCs – the additional voluntary contributions. But I don’t really know what they do. Increase my bucket I guess.” - Diane

WTF tip

• Work out your retirement income with the Money Advice Service pension calculator (

• Use our Best Buy tables ( to compare ratings and reviews of top pension providers

All it would take is a bit of guidance to start us off

“You feel like there’s so much you should be doing but you don’t know where to start. There’s so much pressure to prepare for old age and choose the right pension and investments and it’s just like arghhh just tell me what to do and I’ll do it!” - Holly

“I am trying to find out more and find the information but it’s a whole minefield really isn’t it. But I do like the websites that explain all the pensions and give you the bare bones of it.” - Maggie

“If they told me, ‘put in £100 a month or whatever and you’ll get X at the end because some of it’s tax-free,’ then I would. Absolutely. But at the minute they send me a stack of information that just goes straight in the bin because it’s so wordy and I just don’t want to read it.” - Karen

WTF tip

• Learn the basics of pensions with our simple retirement guide (

• Unpack the jargon with our financial acronyms guide (

• Consider an ethical pension ( which helps the planet as it grows your savings

Thankfully auto-enrolment at work has made starting out easier

“When I was 22 I signed up to the police and they had a pension, and that kind of forced it on me. I’m glad they did and now I would always go into the company pension. You need to be able to look after yourself.” - Holly

WTF tip

• Learn what makes up your retirement cocktail ( – workplace pension, private pension and state pension

And after the initial confusion, pensions pretty much run themselves

“I have a pension with an old company and I get a letter annually but I don’t really touch it. I just let everything sit there and carry on. It’s easy and there’s always a chance I might do well, but I don’t pay much attention.” - Leanne

“I have a work pension – a final salary pension. But to be honest I don’t really know much about it. I know it’s a good one, and I know work pays a percentage and it’s tax-free. I don’t know what I’ll have to live on when I retire, or how much I need. But I’m happy with it.” - Maggie

WTF tip

• If you run out of your annual tax-free allowance, top it up with allowances from previous years

• Check if your pension costs are competitive with the Boring Money Investment Calculator (

And we’re passing on our newfound knowledge to the people we love

"I talk to my daughter about money – she's in her 20s – and I try to give her the info so she’s on the right track. I think it’s about talking about what’s relevant when it’s relevant. I can get her interested in a help to buy ISA but if you try to talk about pensions she’s not interested. Too early." - Barbara

WTF tip

• Read how to explain the importance of pensions to a millennial (

• Read more money stories from our WTF ladies (

• Explore the Women Talk Finance hub ( stories, tips and Q&As with financial advisers

Why not help the people you love to get to grips with their personal finances too?

Share our Women Talk Finance stories on Twitter (, Instagram (, or Facebook (, email the web page link to your colleagues, or shout up the stairs to summon your younglings.

It’s never too late to get in the know.

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