Do you have enough cash to retire?

1. First of all, check your state pension forecast by applying online at or by filling in form BR19, also available from Directgov.

2. Deferring your state pension will mean you receive a larger weekly amount when you do start claiming.

If you defer it for at least 12 months, you can opt to receive the payments in a one-off lump sum. Contact the pension service on 0800 731 7898.

3. It's possible to make up to six years' national insurance contributions to top up your state pension. HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will normally send you a letter detailing your shortfall. If not, you can contact HMRC on 0845 302 1479.

4. Check the value of your private pensions too. If you have gone for default funds, they may not be performing well.

A meeting with an independent financial adviser should help you with this and give you an indication of alternative funds you may prefer to use for your pension.

5. It's possible to make additional payments into company pension schemes. These are known as additional voluntary contributions and cost less than starting another pension.

6. Don't just take the annuity your pension provider offers you. The open-market option means you can shop around and compare rates from other providers.

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