Six months before retirement age, I received a comprehensive circular in FSA format from several insurance companies.
These listed the options, gave no figures but told me how to obtain them.
Four months before retirement age, I received a letter from the DWP Pension Service giving figures for my state pension. These bore no relationship to earlier forecasts.
I therefore telephoned Newcastle and explained that I feared their figures were not correct. “They won’t be,” said Ann, “we don’t gather the necessary data together until you make a claim for your pension to commence.”
I explained that I might want to defer commencement to gain increments. She explained that if I make that decision there will be no way of knowing how much I am deferring.
I said I wanted to know the amount in order to plan my finances and make a decision as to deferment.
The only way to achieve that, she explained, is to apply for my pension to commence and when I obtain a figure I can say I have changed my mind and want to defer it.
She took down details to enter in a claim form which she will send to me to sign and send to Cardiff. I asked what would happen after that.
If I phone Cardiff three weeks before state retirement date, they should be able to tell me the amount and I can then tell them if I have changed my mind if I do want it to start.
During those three weeks, my wife will have to discover whether deferment of her pension on my contributions has to follow my decision. Also, if I understand correctly, although Ann did not mention it, during those three weeks she will have to arrange to discontinue the 18p per week graduated pension which she is already receiving, since this seems to be a condition for earning increments on deferment of the wife’s pension now due to commence. Whether this is possible in the time remains to be seen and what hope would there be that a layman or woman would discover the requirement?
The Government is constantly urging individuals to make financial plans for their retirement. It seems that three weeks in advance is regarded as the appropriate period.
Russell Harman & Co
Chalfont St Giles,Buckinghamshire