The government auto-enrolment scheme is designed to get workers to start building up a workplace pension without having to make the decision to join, but the minimum level of contributions is low. To be sure that you are building up a reasonable amount of money for your retirement, the sooner you start thinking about your pension the better.
We would recommend you take the time to read the Money Advice Service information on pensions and retirement. (The Money Advice Service is a free, independent service, set up by government and funded by a levy on the financial services industry. They say: "Because we’re not selling anything ourselves, or for anyone else, you can trust our advice.")
The first step is to make sure you understand the different types of pension available to you. See workSMART's Types of Pensions section that deals with the State Pension, occupational pensions and personal pensions. (Note that workSMART is aimed at people who work for an employer so we do not deal in detail here with the self-employed or those who are not working.)
Next, you should:
Then, if you think you need to save more (and you probably will):