Do you want to maximise your income in retirement?

Probably a simple question for most, however whilst under the existing state pension rules you need 30 years of National Insurance contributions or credits to receive a full state pension.

When the new single tier pension becomes operational in April 2016, you will need 35 qualifying years of National Insurance contributions or credits required to receive the full amount. This means that there may be many people who expect to receive a full state pension, but because the eligibility criteria has changed may actually receive less than they expect.

Your single tier state pension will reduce by 1/35 for each missing year.

If you know that you may have gaps in your National Insurance record you may be able to do something about it, as you may be able to voluntarily make additional National Insurance contributions to at least narrow the gap.

If you aren’t sure whether you meet the new qualifying criteria, you can ask the Department for Work & Pensions Future Pension Centre for a state pension statement which will give you an estimate of your future state pension based on the current rules. Then when you have this, they will also be able to tell you whether there are any gaps in your contributions record.

If you find that you do have gaps which you want to fill, you may need to act swiftly because contributions usually need to be made within 6 years, so for example, shortfalls for the tax year 2007-2008 would need to be made by 5 April 2014. If you have any questions about increasing your income in retirement, we recommend that you contact your financial adviser.