Most of us might have an idea of when we can retire and how much we hope to have in our pension pot but widening your pensions knowledge can help you stay on track with your goals. With the start of a new year upon us, this pension refresher will cover all the need-to-know basics about your pension.
Who are we?
The North East Scotland Pension Fund, or the NESPF as you may know us, administers the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) for employers located throughout the North and North East of Scotland. With an asset value of over £4.3 billion and 71,000 members we are the third largest LGPS fund in Scotland serving over 50 public sector or charitable organisations.
How do I know if I am a member?
Most people who join the pension scheme are automatically enrolled by their employer and so will not have to take any action to join. When you become a member of the NESPF you will see pension contributions being deducted from your salary on your pay slip. You will also receive written confirmation of your membership from both us and your employer.
How do I calculate my Pension?
There are different ways to calculate your pension depending on when you were paying into the pension scheme. The main difference in the rules is that membership before April 2015 built up a Final Salary pension whereas membership after 1 April 2015 builds up CARE pension. An in-depth breakdown of the rules can be found at Calculating your Pension.
Regardless of the way your pension is calculated, it is the value of your pension which matters most. To find out how much your pension is worth you can login to your My Pension account.
How much do I pay?
How much you pay into your pension will depend on how much you earn. To view our contribution rate calculator click here.
There are also options to pay more or less into your pension. Boosting your pension with extra contributions means you will have more in your pension pot at retirement. For information on the pension top ups on offer visit here.
On the other hand, if you are looking to reduce your pension contributions without stopping payments altogether, 50/50 lets you pay half the contributions while continuing to grow your pension. For more information on the 50/50 option click here.
When can I retire?
There are a few different retirement options available. You can choose to retire early or decide to ease into retirement with flexible retirement. Or if circumstances are out with your control, ill health and redundancy retirements are also available. You can choose to retire and take your pension from age 55 however, depending on your Normal Pension Age, retiring early or later could result in a pension decrease or increase. For more information on retirement visit the Types of Retirement section.
How will changing circumstances affect my pension?
Life is not linear (hello global pandemic), and we realise life events can crop up which may impact your circumstances. From divorce to death in service and maternity leave to contract changes, our website covers a range of specific scenarios and details how they may affect your pension. Click here for life events and here for work event information.
Staying updated on your pension
While it can be easy to become overwhelmed with pensions information, most of the information you require for our scheme can be found on our websites. The Active Member (those currently paying into the scheme), Deferred Member (those with a pension on hold) and Pensioner (those receiving a pension from the Fund) sections of our website cover specific information relevant to each category of member. Detailed guides covering an array of topics can be found in the Resources section.
The FAQ section of our website also covers a range of commonly asked queries the Fund receives.
We recommend our members register and login to our My Pension tool, which contains personal details such as financial information, your pension value and annual benefit statements. It also contains pension calculators which can show how much your pension might be when you retire and illustrate how taking your pension under different scenarios can affect its value. To register for My Pension click here and follow the steps to sign up.