Step 2: how can I check my State Pension?

If you have been paying National Insurance contributions, you will have built up an entitlement to at least some State Pension.

You can get a State Pension forecast from the GOV.UK website, telling you in today's money the State Pension you have already earned and what you can expect to have earned by the time you reach State Pension age. It will also include details of your additional State Pension, if you have one. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the online form and you can also find information there on how to understand your forecast you receive.

If you have missed out paying enough National Insurance contributions to qualify for a full state retirement pension, it may be possible to pay extra voluntary contributions. This is well worth thinking about. You can find out more about National Insurance contributions on the HMRC website.

But even a full State Pension and a good additional State Pension (an extra pension that could be built up in the past) will not provide a lavish lifestyle in retirement. You may want to think about building up some extra pension though your own efforts as well. Proceed to step 3 to find out how.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.