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With government changes affecting financial security after retirement, now is the time to plan for self-sufficiency

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Changes are afoot in the world of pension provision and itís a key time to be aware of your options and consider changes in your plans for retirement.

Upheavals in global economy have decimated personal pension funds and saving accounts. A reduction in retirement assets of nearly 25% across the globe is squeezing the budgets of retires and changing retirement patterns. Retirement may last for 20 years or more, so providing a large enough sum to fund yourself when you finish working can be a daunting prospect.

The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal that both men and women are expected in increasing numbers to continue working into their retirement. The data, released in the latest update to their Pension Trends publication, reveals that more UK workers will retire later than ever, with two thirds going on to work part time rather than full time. Aviva recently conducted a survey which revealed that 68% of UK consumers expect to work on after their retirement and with the UK government planning to scrap the default retirement age of 65 in 2011 changes are afoot for a large amount of the UK population.

A good place to start is to assess what you can expect to receive from your state pension. Your State Pension Forecast is the key to this information and is available via the direct.gov website. Armed with the knowledge of how much you can expect to receive from the state on retirement, you can go on to assess how much you need to save to fund the kind of retirement you would prefer.

There a high probability you may need additional provision and an online pension calculator will be invaluable in providing you with your required saving goals. As well as showing what you need to save to provide a given retirement fund they can adjust for inflation revealing what your money will be worth in todayís terms.

The government is responding to the crisis in pensions with a new way for the UK to save for retirement called Auto Enrolment. From 2012 there will be a gradual roll out of the scheme, which will place all employees into a pension scheme via their workplace. Rather than saving for retirement being an option for UK employees they will have to opt out if they do not wish to take part. As such schemes enjoy a contribution from the employer as well as the employee they are an attract prospect for those looking to secure their retirement.

The National Employment Saving Trust is the new national pension scheme designed to provide access to a value for money, transparent saving vehicle for individuals. It is a money purchase scheme and contributions are invested to create a fund which is then used to provide you a retirement income, often through the purchase of annuity. How large your fund will depends on the size of the contributions that have been made, how well the investment performed and what is taken away in charges.

Thankfully there is a new and unique online tool in the UK developed by Money Vista. It allows consumers to consolidate information about savings, investments and financial goals under one roof. Consumers can take a more active role in their financial planning and there has never been a better time to take control of your financial destiny.