When to top up your national insurance to boost your state pension

If your national insurance contributions fall short of getting you a full state pension, you can make voluntary top-up contributions.

Should you top up your national insurance to boost your state pension? Reforms to state pensions mean anyone retiring after 5 April 2016 must have at least ten years' national insurance contributions to claim one, while you need 35 years to get the full amount of £8,767 a year.

However, if your national insurance record falls short, you can make voluntary top-up contributions, typically for up to six years after periods in which you didn't pay in full.

In principle, topping up national insurance is a good deal. It will cost you roughly £750 to buy each extra year. In return, each year after the minimum ten years you buy will generate roughly £250 of extra pension every year for the rest of your life.

The return is even higher if the top up takes you up to the minimum ten-year record, below which you're not entitled to any state pension.

Nevertheless, it's important to check your entitlement to means-tested benefits. If you expect to retire on a low income, with little or no private pension or savings and investments, there's a good chance you'll qualify for means-tested payments such as pension credit.

Extra state-pension entitlement will reduce your eligibility for these benefits, in which case there's no point in paying voluntary national insurance.

Recommended

Make sure your pension savings don't breach the lifetime allowance
Pensions

Make sure your pension savings don't breach the lifetime allowance

Don’t forget the lifetime allowance when reviewing your pension planning – breaching it could prove very costly, says David Prosser.
7 Jan 2022
How to track down your lost pension savings
Pensions

How to track down your lost pension savings

Some straightforward detective work could reunite you with pension savings from previous jobs that you may have mislaid.
20 Dec 2021
Insurance renewal quotes: new rules mean you may not have to switch
Insurance

Insurance renewal quotes: new rules mean you may not have to switch

Consumers have long complained that car and home insurance renewal quotes rise every year unless they switch. But from next month, insurers will be ba…
14 Dec 2021
What to do if you still have a mortgage when you retire
Mortgages

What to do if you still have a mortgage when you retire

In the next few decades, many people will be paying back their home loans well into retirement. David Prosser explains their options.
7 Dec 2021

Most Popular

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners
Investment strategy

Shareholder capitalism: why we must return power to listed companies’ ultimate owners

Under our system of shareholder capitalism it's not fund managers, it‘s the individual investors – the company's ultimate owners – who should be telli…
24 Jan 2022
Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now
Share tips

Three innovative Asian stocks to buy now

Professional investor Fay Ren of the Cerno Pacific Fund highlights three of her favourite Asian stocks to buy now
24 Jan 2022
Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing
Investment strategy

Temple Bar’s Ian Lance and Nick Purves: the essence of value investing

Ian Lance and Nick Purves of the Temple Bar investment trust explain the essence of “value investing” – buying something for less than its intrinsic v…
14 Jan 2022