At almost every Budget, the government makes “amendments” to state pensions. As a result people have lost faith in pension schemes! Pensions are seen as expensive, complex and impenetrable, and people fear that they could save thousands of pounds into a fund, that will not pay out what they were led to expect. This is a worry I had and still do have.

Nowadays there are so many different schemes and plans out there that it can become very confusing and the terminology for many things is not often simple.

There is a pension crisis- too many people are saving too little for their retirement because they would rather pay for a new car, holiday or even handbag! (Yes really!) But this cannot be an excuse for us not taking care of our future. We used to rely on our employers looking after us in our retirement, but unless you are employed in the public sector where pensions remain generous, it is now up to you to take personal responsibility for investing in your future.

Today I was joined by Bhargaw Buddhdev, a pensions actuary and an expert for dealing with pension taxation issues for individuals and their employers. Bhargaw specialises in advising companies and remuneration committees on pension arrangements for their senior executives.

Bhargaw said that it is never too early to start planning for our retirement and each person should speak to their employer to ensure that they are aware of the work pension schemes they can “opt in” at anytime.

He said that if someone was already near a pensionable age they could look into meeting with a professional financial adviser, going to a bank and seeking advice regarding pensions and even IHT.

There is no doubt in my mind that the concept of retirement is getting harder. More people will retire with less and more people will have to continue working into their 70s. Most people spend more time planning their next holiday, than they do planning for retirement.

So please don’t get caught out, do your research while you have time. You will be retired for a long time, make the best use of it. This time of your life really can be one of the happiest periods that you will enjoy and it’s one time where you will certainly not want to be strapped for cash.