People in England aged 55 and over currently own £1.5trillion worth of property, £0.1trillion more than Italy's annual GDP, according to retirement income firm Age Partnership. With the average cost of a house in England standing at £229,383 and 6.3million over-55s owning their home outright, the £1.5trillion figure puts this age group among the richest property owners in the world.
Family feuds over inheritance are on the rise - and a record number of cases reached the High Court last year
The number of inheritance disputes reaching the High Court each year has soared to a record high due to the intricacies of modern family life and rising property prices, according to a law firm. Some 116 cases were brought in the High Court under the Inheritance Act last year compared with 15 in 2005 - an eight-fold increase in the annual figure. But this still relatively small number represents the tip of the iceberg of disputes which are either settled or end up in County Court, according to Dan Winter, partner at Nockolds.
Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is This Is Money's Agony Uncle. He is ready to answer your questions, whether you are still saving, in the process of stopping work, or juggling your finances in retirement. Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is This Is Money's Agony Uncle. This week, he replies to a reader who plans to sell a £25.45 a month annuity when a new market launches next April.
STEVE WEBB ANSWERS YOUR PENSION QUESTIONS
MS sufferer battles for 18 months to draw early pension before ex-employer Premier Foods heeds her pleas for help
Jane Walker, from Heswall in Merseyside, made repeated requests for help and information from Premier Foods' pension scheme from April 2015 onwards, but got nowhere until This is Money intervened. A former human resources officer, Mrs Walker worked at Premier for 11 years until 2004, and she wants to make the most of her savings now due to her serious illness which has left her unable to work.
Why the final salary pensions black hole has ballooned to £710BILLION, how it could be fixed and whether retirees will inevitably lose it...
Some 11million savers are still in line for a guaranteed income for life in retirement, but those in underfunded schemes will be wondering if they can still rely on this promise. Yet any move towards allowing employers to duck responsibilities to staff is very politically sensitive - it would anger great swathes of older savers, a group who tend to vote. We explain the crisis facing final salary schemes and explore some solutions being put forward.
Travesty of the vanishing pension: Paul's was worth £1,300 in the 90s. This year he was told there's nothing left due to a web of six different charges - and he OWES £37.32
Paul Walton, who lives in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, had squirrelled away a £1,300 pension pot with St James's Place. Fifteen years later he checked the balance - expecting the fund's investment growth would have turned his pot into a tidy fund - only to be told the pot was worth nothing. Eye-watering charges levied by the company meant he actually owed them £37.32.
'Golden age' of retirement has seen pensioner incomes double in two decades - but it's drawing to a close for future generations
Pensioners were living on £155 per week in 1995 but this had risen to £297 by 2015 - adjusted for inflation so that was not the driving factor behind the growth. An Aegon reckons the present era of plenty for retirees is underpinned by three factors - generous and guaranteed final salary pensions, inflation-beating state pension increases under the 'triple lock' since 2010, and rising numbers of older people continuing to work part-time during retirement.
Break through the pensions 'roadblock': Paralysing fears over the economy are causing many to stall on retirement planning...don't be one of them
Nearly half of UK employees are suffering a crisis of confidence over saving for retirement, research for The Mail on Sunday reveals. Analysis by actuaries Willis Towers Watson and Nottingham University, indicates that wannabe pension savers are starting out with good intentions but many are being put off by a bewildering array of options. Increased choice, combined with economic uncertainty and conflicting financial priorities, is producing a widespread 'pension road block' says Willis - where people are putting off setting up a pension.
Dorset tops league of best spots to spend your retirement, with Herefordshire and West Sussex the joint runners up
Prudential ranked counties and cities on the basis of factors such as the weather, crime levels, access to healthcare, number of retirees already living there and pension income. Surrey's pensioners receive the highest average annual income at £21,200, while those in Dyfed and Powys suffer the least amount of crime, the insurance giant found.
Workers risk a retirement shortfall as four in five have no idea how much National Insurance they must pay to get the full state pension
A third of workers don't know that missing NI payments during career breaks could affect their state pension - although more than half of people take at least one year off during their lives. Workers need to make 35 years of NI contributions to get the full state pension, which is currently £155.65 a week for anyone retiring from April this year onwards.
Revealed: The pensioners trapped in their homes by lenders ready to snatch up to 75 PER CENT of their home's value when they sell up
Alexander Macrae, 82, (pictured) cannot afford to heat his large house, but is stuck living in it because the moment he sells Bank of Scotland will demand £147,250 - which will leave him with insufficent funds to buy a small flat. This is because, like thousands of pensioners, Mr Macrae signed up to a shared appreciation mortgage in the 1980s.
No relief from the taxman: Pensioner households still pay around 30% of their income into Treasury coffers
Pensioners who live in other EU countries or hope to do so in future have had retirement plans upended by the Brexit vote - and it might be years before they can make decisions with any certainty again. A deal on pensions will be crucial to retirees trying to decide whether they can still afford to live in an EU country after the UK's departure from the bloc. Nothing is certain, but there are real fears that EU expats will join the legions of other British retirees around the world stuck on frozen state pensions.
'Pension burden avalanche' bearing down on young: Workers struggle to save for their own retirement as state liabilities rise
The Government hasn't yet nailed down details of its plan to help young people save simultaneously for a home and retirement, according to top pension firms. Savers torn between these two important life goals were promised help with both by former Chancellor George Osborne in last Spring's Budget. But critics, including former Pensions Minister Ros Altmann, fear people who open Lifetime Isas will lose out on employer pension contributions and end up poorer in old age as a result.
Watch out for pension deadlines: Prepare for the 55, 65 and 75 age milestones to make retirement comfortable
Pension age deadlines are far more fluid nowadays as older people have gained greater control over when they retire and how they run their finances in old age. But the traditional age milestones of 55, 65 and 75 are still important markers that call for informed decisions - even if it is just to postpone doing anything while still in the earlier stages.
£100,000 pensions that won't even buy a fish supper: Annuity payouts slashed again after last week's rate cut
Money Mail today reveals how the Bank of England's bid to boost the economy has left pensioners with incomes of just £6 a day after a lifetime of saving. Four of Britain's biggest insurers have slashed pension payouts since official interest rates were halved and billions of pounds was pumped into the economy last week.
MPs to give Pensions Regulator powers to block takeovers in massive shake-up to end 'cowboy' capitalism after BHS fiasco
The inquiry into the Regulator by the Work and Pensions Committee will consider whether it should be given new teeth to block takeovers, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. Committee chair Frank Field MP (pictured) has indicated he favours such new powers but is also set to turn the spotlight on the Regulator's senior officers, calling them back for a fresh grilling in the wake of the BHS scandal.
ROS ALTMANN: Find a better growth plan than cutting rates - encourage pension funds to invest in infrastructure or social housing
Are the state pension triple lock's days numbered? PM says guarantee isn't under threat despite experts saying it's 'not sustainable'
Prime Minister Theresa May and her team were forced to deny plans to slash state pension payouts for millions of Britons, over the weekend. A memo, written by Baroness Ros Altmann, who was pensions minister until stepping down when the new Prime Minister started, stated the guarantee would not be affordable if the economy hit trouble and that it had 'fulfilled its purpose'.
'My home is my pension': Britain's wealth is locked into property, forcing people to sell-up or release equity to pay for retirement
Britain's retirees face an increasingly nightmarish cocktail of woes: rock-bottom savings rates, no annuity income worth mentioning and their money locked into the one asset they don't want to sell - their home. They may have no choice. Research from Aviva has found that almost a quarter of Britons over the age of 45 with a mortgage are expecting not to have paid it off by the time they retire.
What are the challenges and top priorities for the new Pensions Minister? Experts lay out the most pressing issues faced by the government
As the Government has appointed Richard Harrington (pictured) as the new Pensions Minister, pension experts have expressed their view on what his priorities should be. Richard Parkin, head of Pensions at Fidelity International said the new government has got a lot on its plate at the moment. Here are what Fidelity believes are the six key priority areas for government policy on pensions.
UK's pensions black hole balloons 30% in a MONTH: Total deficit of final salary schemes soars £90bn to £384bn as Brexit hits funds
The deficits of all schemes eligible to join Britain's pensions lifeboat increased from May's £294.6bn by a staggering £89bn, as Brexit fears have hammered their investments. Data from the Pension Protection Fund, which dishes out compensation to staff in certain circumstances, revealed the total deficit of all eligible schemes £383.6billion by the end of June, from £209.6billion at the same point a year earlier - an annual increase of 83 per cent.
How war hero Dennis, 95, has spent £4,876 on life cover that'll pay out £1,757 (and if he stops paying in, he'll lose the lot!)
In the past 18 years, Dennis Wilson has won fame, praise and an honorary degree for his World War II poetry. He's even met the Queen and discovered four long-lost brothers. He has just one regret: paying £24 a month for an insurance plan that will provide his family with a £1,757 lump sum when he dies. He has now forked out three times as much as his family will eventually receive.
The Pensions Ombudsman Service handled nearly 5,000 cases altogether, although only around 1,360 were pursued for investigation. Some 63 per cent of investigations were resolved informally, and 37 per cent formally. Where the ombudsman did make a formal decision, around 40 per cent of cases were upheld or partly upheld.
How to invest your pension and live off it in retirement: A 12-step starters' guide - and the pitfalls to avoid
While many people dislike the idea of an annuity, the alternative means keeping your pension invested in retirement and managing it yourself - a process that can be confusing and full of pitfalls. So here's a checklist, from investing, to income, taxes, the state pension, inheritance, illness, financial advice and much else.
How to protect your pension after Brexit vote: As stock markets yo-yo and annuity rates tumble... there are still ways to profit from the jitters
Glitch at Aegon turns into pension red tape nightmare for saver who claims 'obstructive' staff gave him the runaround for months
Robert Deluce, 65, says he phoned Aegon half a dozen times but was given a different reason for his pension paperwork not being processed every time he spoke to staff. He says the entire frustrating saga could have been avoided if Aegon staff had just told him the problem straight away instead of giving him so many contradictory explanations.
HMRC's taxing you on interest you've not been paid! Pensioners left out of pocket as tax codes are switched in sneaky raid
The taxman has started deducting money from monthly pensions or salaries to cover dues on what it thinks pensioners get each month from savings interest. In reality, savers are being taxed before the savings interest hits their bank account. This is because savings interest is usually paid only once a year, rather than monthly.
How TV's Nick is taking on the fraudsters: New campaign to protect older workers and the retired from being duped into making dodgy investments
TV presenter Nick Hewer - host of Countdown and formerly an aide to Lord Sugar on The Apprentice - is the face of a new campaign to crack down on so-called 'boiler room' scams. Thousands of people are affected each year but the true figure is unknown because most people are too embarrassed to report the crime.
What are you doing with pension freedoms? Take a 'personality' quiz and find out if you're being prudent or reckless with your retirement savings
An in-depth study of over-55s following pension freedoms reveals many people struggle to make a decision, while others are switching money into savings accounts and buy-to-let property, or simply eager to 'treat' themselves. Take a quiz to find out what kind of pension 'personality' you are, and what that could mean for your financial security in old age.
Pension freedom is here: Half a million people can spend, save or invest money as they wish - but beware of tax traps and fraud
The huge overhaul allows older savers unrestricted access to their whole pension pots, and removes the need to buy an annuity to provide guaranteed income for life. But pension experts warn freedom reforms bring big and serious risks, like fraudsters stealing people's life savings, baffled retirees paying far too much tax, and the possibility of some treating their savings like a cash windfall and blowing them too fast.
Armchair guide to the great shake-up: Are you sitting comfortably? Then here is how pensions are changing
It's taken 20 years of campaigning by this newspaper - sometimes against governments of the day, other times against big corporate vested interests in the financial world. But after all the battling - and going a little greyer on top - it's time to raise a glass of prosecco and toast a new era. The great pensions revolution has arrived: goodbye unwieldy, straight- jacketing pensions; hello pensions fit for a modern, flexible Britain. From April 6, the pension pendulum swings firmly from provider to you, the consumer, the investor. Rejoice.
Why more families are going to court over inheritance: But our free guide can help avoid costly rows
Modern family dynamics are also causing more rows, with divorce, second marriages, stepchildren and half-brothers and sisters now common. The more extended the family, the more likely it is that arguments will arise. One of the most recent high-profile cases is a dispute over the legacy left by Lynda Bellingham, who starred in the Oxo adverts in the Eighties.
Are you ready to embrace income drawdown in the wake of pension freedom? Here's how it works and what schemes are available
Instead of being stuck with stingy annuities, retirees now have the freedom to dip into their pensions using income drawdown. These schemes allow you to take sums out of your pension pot while the rest stays invested. So what are the advantages and risks of doing this, and what schemes are on offer? We run through the main options now, and look ahead to what might become available in future.
Should you take the risk out of your pension investments before retirement? Six steps to help you decide
People nearing retirement traditionally switch savings out of risky investments and into safer assets, but pension freedom reforms are likely to prompt a big rethink of this practice. That's because derisking - or 'lifestyling' as it's also known - is normally done in preparation for buying an annuity, but many more people will be opting to stay invested an draw down an iincome in future.
The perks of being an olderpreneur: How to tap into your pension to fund a dream start-up - and make money after middle-age
Making the most of your pension savings: What should you do with a retirement pot of £30k, £50k, £100k or £150k-plus?
Pension freedom reforms will give people more decision-making power over their retirement savings from next year. The options to access your money, spend or invest it will widen - although your choices will still largely depend on the size of your pension pot. Financial experts Mark Stone of Whitechurch Securities and Ben Westaway of Jessop Financial Planning explain both your opportunities and the limitations on them.
Conventional wisdom says we all want to retire to a house by the sea or a cottage in the country with roses round the door. But finding that perfect retirement property is not easy - and buying it can involve some big financial decisions. Here are the pros, cons and challenges of upsizing, downsizing or staying put.
Retirement homes have shed their image of dark and dreary buildings and now offer luxury complexes or villages with on-site facilities aimed at older people. But banks won't give you a mortgage to buy a sheltered housing or retirement village property, so you will need the cash to fund it yourself.
Got a work pension but don't have a clue how to invest your money? Here's your essential guide to start getting richer
Are you at risk of leaving your family with nothing but legal bills because of a badly written will? Find out what your options are and how to guard yourself against an invalid will.
If I die and my husband remarries, how do I make sure my four kids inherit my money not their future stepmother?
I want to ensure that if I die before my husband he gets the money, but if he remarried and then died my half would end up with my children not any new spouse or her children. How can I safeguard so that any new wife would not reap the rewards of what we have built up and at some point my children will get something from my estate?
Can I dispute the will of a deceased relative? One family member persuaded her to rewrite her will in his wife's favour, kept her death a secret, held a shotgun funeral and cleared out her house before anyone else had been informed...
He suddenly kept turning up on my relative's doorstep prior to her death after ignoring her for years, redid her will to leave all assets to his own wife and appointed himself executor. By the time family members had been informed of the death, he and his wife had the house cleared out and all family items sent to an auction, and had a fast funeral with no announcement or attendees apart from him and his kids. We have no idea how much the assets were worth but there were valuable paintings, antiques and at least £50,000 in cash. Is this legal and what action can be taken?
Stock market losses are threatening my pension nest egg - should I cash in or switch up my investments?
I retired last year and put about £80,000 in an income drawdown plan following the pension freedom reforms.The trouble is my portfolio is doing badly, and I'm really worried about the impact of all these market losses since the start of the year. What should I do - change the investments in my portfolio, reduce the income I take from it, think again about buying an annuity, or something else?
Will I lose some of the new flat-rate state pension because I contracted out - even if I pay full NI for 35 years?
I'm really worried I won't qualify for the new, full flat-rate pension when I retire because I opted out of paying National Insurance contributions for five years back in the 1990s. now I understand the Government is going to reduce my state pension based not just on the years I opted out, but on what it thinks I might have gained in my private pension during that time - and it'll do this even if I manage to make full NI contributions for 35 years.
Phoenix say the Retirement Annuity Trust with them cannot be broken and I now find that almost all other providers will not take a policy in Trust. Am I correct in thinking that in spite of what the pension freedom legislation proposes, I'm locked into Phoenix Life and will have to take their annuity no matter how poor its value or cash it in?
How many years of National Insurance do I need for the new flat rate state pension and can I buy extra credits?
I am three years away from retirement and earn £70,000 a year. Our children have left home and finished university and my wife and I now only have ourselves to support. A friend told me I should pay as much of my salary into a pension as possible over the next three years before I retire. Is this worth doing?
Holder of Aegon with profits policy wants to know how his 'terminal bonus' could have been cut 46%, drastically reducing his pension pot, while stock markets reached record highs. He asks: 'Where did this money go to? At what point during the last two years did it disappear?
I'm poor at picking investments, don't want an annuity and don't want to pay for advice: What can I do with my £100k pension pot?
I'm looking for what to do with my pension pot in a few months when I retire. Ideally I'd like to not buy an annuity, and hopefully keep some or all of the pot to pass on to my wife or the next generation. While I'd be happy researching which funds to invest in now, I guess I'm not the best person to do this and I certainly wouldn't want to be doing this with a fading memory or mental capacity.
Will I get a full state pension? I don't know if I've opted out of second state pension because I ignored all the bumpf
I'm worried I might not qualify for the new full state pension, but I can't check because the Government is only sending forecasts to people aged 55 and over. I fear that some of my employers opted me out of the second-tier state pension without me realising what they were doing or the implications of it at the time. I don't recall ever signing anything specific, but they might have notified me in the packets of bumpf they sent me and I never read.
Premium Bonds winners
|Prize value||Winning bond No.||Area|
|£100,000||138HB024467||Hampshire and Isle of Wight|
|£25,000||86GW534216||Cheshire West and Chester|