Once again this is a new experience for me and it's tricky getting the right information.
The government wants you to work and save towards your own pension so you don't have to rely on the state.
When you're younger the last thing you think about is your pension as that's years away and you'd prefer to spend that money on fun things.
I funded a former pension at a former place of work. When I stopped working there the pension froze. I also opted out of SERPS (State Earning Relating Pay System) commonly know as the 'second pension'. This also froze when I lost my job ohh nearly 20 years ago.
Up until April this year you could access these small pensions at 50. Now the age has gone up to 55. However, if you have to retire through ill health you can take them at an earlier age.
Typically I've just discovered that it's not as straightforward as you think!
The SERPS pension - you can only take 25% of the value as a tax free lump sum - the remainder has to buy an Annuity which pays about £200 a year and is taxed too - £3 a week!
My other private frozen pension - I stopped paying into it 20 years ago - I 'm not allowed to take it all out as a tax free lump sum because it's value is just over £18k. This means I can only take 25% as a tax free lump sum - the remainder has to buy another ruddy poor performing Annuity that pays next to nothing and is taxable too.
My advice to anyone is get advice about pensions if you happen to work. We only think about then when it's time to retire - by which time it's all too late!