Previously I had seen this as “fun money” to be spent on treats. It took time, but I have now reached 15 per cent, and I am enjoying the security of knowing that I am taking care of my future while still being able to have fun in the present.
And honestly, when I increased my pension contributions initially, it was not as bad as I had feared because the money was taken out before tax so it felt less, it was done at source so I did not have to think about it and I knew I had budgeted for my commitments like rent so I could afford it if I adjusted my other spending.
I know my story is not uncommon, and I have two pieces of advice for anyone who is not yet saving for a pension.
The first is to start doing so now. It is never too late, and the smallest monthly or annual contribution will start to add up. Had I put away even a nominal amount during my formative years, it would have grown into a respectable sum by now.
The second is to plan. It is all right to start with small contributions, but it’s not all right to keep them small.
Think about how you will increase your contributions over time, and commit to making it happen. Had I attempted to increase my monthly savings in the years after I joined my first plan, my savings would have been in even better shape.
I understand that planning for retirement can seem at best tedious, and at worst overwhelming, confusing and unachievable.
I have been there. But with a reality check, some planning, and making a commitment to saving for your future now, you can avoid the very real risk of becoming a statistic and instead look forward to a more comfortable retirement.
And I'm encouraged by the change in attitudes – now when I’m at a dinner party and people hear that I work in pensions they don’t yawn but rather sidle up to me and ask about how they can get their pension into better shape.
Claire Felgate is head of UK DC at BlackRock