Everything You Need To Know About The State Pension

Pensions and Retirement planning

Everything You Need To Know About The State Pension.

How much of a pension will I get? Essential facts about the UK state pension.

In this article you’ll learn:

  • What the UK state pension is and who is eligible to receive it.
  • How pensions work and how much you’ll receive.

In a fast-paced now-today-immediately world, it’s tough to find the discipline to save the pennies and prepare for a time after your career. But we can’t stress this enough: it is vital that everyone thinks long and hard about how they might continue to pay for simple necessities, like food and utility bills, through their retirement.

Luckily, the British welfare state is here to make sure we all have a fighting chance, supplying its retired citizens with a government-provided income for life. But is it as good as it sounds?

How do pensions work?

We’ll start with the basics: pensions are an investment savings product designed to help you sustain yourself financially once you retire. You can ‘retire’ any time you like, but as you are all too aware, not working also means no more income. So when can you realistically retire?

To receive a private pension – a pension fund paid for by your own private money, not the government – you need to be 55-years-old or over. For state pensions paid for by the UK Government, the age at which you can begin to receive your pension pot is a little more complicated.

The rules have been changed in recent years due to a number of factors, including national average life expectancy figures and the need to fund the increasing number of pension-age retirees in the UK.

When can I retire?

Right now, the UK state pension age is 65, but it will rise over the coming years. Although subject to change, the pension age will rise to 66 in 2020 and to 67 eight years later. To check your exact pension age, we recommend checking the government pension age calculator here.

How much is the state pension?

Pension rules can be complex, as they have been amended many times by decades of new legislation brought in by successive governments. However, we all need to have an accurate idea of how much we will receive, and the answer is this:

Once you reach pension age, you’ll receive £155.65 per week if you are:

  • A man born on or after 6 April 1951 or a woman born on or after 6 April 1953

You’ll receive £119.30 per week if you are:

  • A man born before 6 April 1951 or a woman born before 6 April 1953

How to qualify

Not just anyone can qualify to receive a state pension. To meet the criteria, you’ll need to have made 10 years’ of National Insurance contributions, either through employment, voluntarily or through NI credits. These don’t need to be consecutive years, but the number of years required jumps to 35 for anyone who’s never paid NI before 6 April 2016.

How much pension do I need?

Depending on which survey you believe, the average annual spend per individual during retirement is between £10,000 and £24,000. It could be a lot more, it could be a lot less. We believe it’s sensible to target ⅔ of your current income levels. And don’t forget that income tax also applies.

This leaves the state pension’s £155.65 per week – around £8,090 – looking more than a little modest. And this figure is likely to be even less if you’re retiring sooner.

The lesson is clear: don’t rest on your laurels and assume the state pension will take care of you. Even if you qualify, it’s likely to be a struggle to maintain your current lifestyle. So make sure you seek sound financial advice and begin developing a lifetime financial plan.


We’ve barely scratched the surface of the complexities of the state pension. If you’d like to discuss more pension options and how you can save for a better retirement, contact our expert financial advisors at Flying Colours today on 0333 241 9900.

We hope you find the education zone interesting and useful, but please remember it shouldn’t be viewed as financial advice.