In April this year, a new single tier pension was launched. If you already reached state pension age before 6th April 2016, then the old rules will still apply. But for men born on or after 6th April 1951 or women born on or after 6th April 1953, changes are afoot.

The biggest change, and the one bringing most criticism, is that with the old rules, only one full year’s National Insurance Contributions or credits was required to accrue some entitlement to state pension. Under the new rules, individuals have to have TEN years’ contributions or credits to get any new state pension. Even then, the amount is still dependent on your National Insurance record and you’ll need 35 qualifying years to get the full new State Pension.

If you do not qualify to get the full amount, i.e. you’ve not got 35 qualifying years of National Insurance Contributions, you can top up via voluntary contributions until you reach the full new State Pension amount or reach State Pension age – whichever is first.

Described by the Department for Work and Pensions as “a simpler and more equal system”, the media tells us the switch could disadvantage a million people.

So what can you do to plan for your retirement?

You can begin by getting an estimate straight away through the Government website, which will give you a state pension projection. Please be aware, this estimate is provided for your information only and the service does not offer financial advice.

Once you have that information, you have a starting point to work from.

While the new pension scheme has drawn criticism as being confusing, we’re here to explain things in a jargon-free way. There may be ways to counter loss, but as ever in the world of pensions, expert advice is necessary to avoid potentially costly pitfalls.

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