Pension schemes are quite controversial at the moment. Gone are the days where one worked for a company your entire working life, retired at a reasonable age and lived off your pension. The defined benefit schemes (guaranteed pension amount) is giving way to defined contribution schemes (pension relies on your contribution and investment growth) which is considered less attractive to the beneficiary. Joining an existing company pension is usually a very good idea, but starting a private pension or investing in your mortgage as your pension for example, might be a question worth considering. The answer is get help and do the maths. If you are in the Armed Forces your pension scheme (AFPS) is in a league of its own. A defined benefit scheme that starts the day you begin your service (18+), pays you a cash tax free lump if you complete the required years and a monthly pension for the rest of your life. Should you not complete the required years, your pension will be preserved until your pensionable age. The important factor is that you started early so continue with your pension at every opportunity and avoid gap years if you can help it. And of course the AFPS provides life cover, which is 3x or 4x your gross annual salary, depending on the scheme you are on.
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