Which pension changes are happening in 2019?
This year will see several changes to pensions, including an increase in the amount you must contribute to your company pension scheme and a ban on pension cold-calling. Here’s our rundown of what’s happening to pensions in 2019.
Auto-enrolment contributions are increasing
If you’ve been auto-enrolled into your company pension scheme, the amount both you and your employer must pay into this scheme will increase from April 2019.
At the moment, if you’re an employee, you must contribute 3% into your company pension scheme, unless you’ve chosen to opt out. Employers must pay in 2%, meaning the total minimum contribution is 5%.
From 6 April 2019 onwards, the start of the new tax year, employees must pay in 5% and employers must contribute 3%, bringing the total minimum contribution to 8%. You can decide to pay in more than the total minimum contribution if you want to.
The State Pension is increasing from the start of the new tax year
The maximum new state pension you’ll be able to receive will increase from £164.35 per week to £168.80 from April.
To qualify for this amount, you’ll need to have 35 years of National Insurance contributions. You’ll need at least 10 qualifying years on your NI record to get any State Pension. If you’re not sure how much State Penson you’ll qualify for, you can get a forecast online at Gov.uk.
The pension Lifetime Allowance is going up from April
The Lifetime Allowance only really applies to those with big pension pots. It limits the amount you can draw from your pension without paying extra tax.
This tax year (2018/19) the Lifetime Allowance is £1.03m but on 6 April when the 2019/20 tax year begins, it will rise to £1.055m. There’s also an Annual Allowance, which is the maximum amount you can pay into your pension this tax year and receive tax relief on. In the current 2018/19 tax year, the Annual Allowance is £40,000, and it will remain at this level in the 2019/20 tax year.
Pension cold-calling is banned
A ban on savers being cold-called about anything to do with their pension came into force on January 9, 2019. That means it is now illegal for companies to telephone you or send you unsolicited texts and e-mails about your pension. There has been a massive rise in cold-calling since the introduction of pension freedoms in 2015, which gave people much greater flexibility over what they can do with their retirement savings.
Many of these cold calls are to try to con savers out of their pension funds. According to the city regulator the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) the average victim of pension fraud has lost £91,000 of their hard-earned savings.
You can find out more about pension scams in our blog ‘How do I look out for scams’. If you think you’ve been the victim of a pension scam, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use their online reporting tool.
The value of investments, and the income derived from them, can go down as well as up and you can get back less than you originally invested. This article does not constitute personal advice. If you are in doubt as to the suitability of an investment please contact one of our advisers. Prevailing tax rates and reliefs are dependent on your individual circumstances and are subject to change.