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We have made £80,000 thanks to Martin Lewis' tip – and we only spent £8,500

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ONE couple made £80,000 thanks to taking Martin Lewis’ advice on their state pension and they only spent £8,500.

The money saving expert revealed on tonight’s summer special episode how taking action now could make thousands in the future.

Martin Lewis said there was a deadline that people needed to be prepared for in 2025

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Martin Lewis said there was a deadline that people needed to be prepared for in 2025Credit: PA
Lewi issued the warning to Brits who could be owed thousands

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Lewi issued the warning to Brits who could be owed thousandsCredit: Getty

Lewis’ advice related to being able to get access to the full state pension and how paying off some unfinished years of National Insurance could see their pension increase.

One couple, Odette and Drew, followed Martin’s advice following his episode on the issue in 2023 and contacted the future pension centre.

Odette said she paid £4,560 to buy back six years of pensions, while Drew said he paid about £3,800.

That increased both their pensions by £1,612 a year and means they’ll be £64,000 better off than they would have been otherwise.

Martin said: “Millions of people are missing National Insurance years. You might have spent years abroad, you might have had a low income, a career break… So my clarion call today is about check now if you can buy missing years.

“For some people, you can do this for free – they paid £8,500 and they got £64,000 if they have typical life expectancy. Actually, that was before the state pension was increased in April – now it’s nearer £80,000. That’s the equivalent of what they’re going to get. They’ve got lots of plans, it’s given them financial freedom.”

Your state pension is calculated on your National Insurance record with most people needing 35 years of payments to get the full benefit.

You’ll need 10 qualifying years on your NI record to qualify for the state pension.

But, you will usually need 35 qualifying years to get the full rate of the state pension.

However, you can top up any missing gaps in your NI record through NI credits or voluntary contributions.

What are the different types of pensions?

Before making a voluntary contribution, it is vital to check if the gaps in your contributions can be filled with free NI credits.

Thousands are thought to be missing out on these NI Credits, leaving them worse off in retirement.

For example, those on certain benefits should qualify for Class 1 credits.

You can check the full list of people eligible to claim credits by visiting www.gov.uk/national-insurance-credits/eligibility.

It explains the circumstances where you’ll need to claim and when you’ll get it automatically.

How to top up National Insurance contributions and how much you can get

In some cases, buying back missing years can be really valuable.

But earning back the years isn’t free, so your voluntary contributions come at a price.

If you fill gaps between 2006/07 and 2015/16, you’ll pay the 2022/23 rates for contributions.

It is worth £15.85 a week, which means it costs £824.20 to buy one year of contributions.

As the state pension was £185.15 per week in 2022/23, this boost would add £5.29 per week or around £275 per year. 

Although you’d have to pay £8,242 (10 lots of £824.20), the annual state pension boost would be around £2,750.

Someone who was retired for 20 years would get back around £55,000 in total (before tax).

Anyone under 73 can make voluntary pension contributions, as it’s assumed everyone under this age will claim the new state pension.

If you’re below the state pension age, you can check your state pension forecast by visiting www.gov.uk/check-state-pension to determine if you’ll benefit from paying voluntary contributions.

You can also contact the Future Pension Centre by calling 0800 731 0175.

If you’ve reached state pension age, contact the Pension Service to find out if you’ll benefit from voluntary contributions.

You can contact this service in several different ways by visiting www.gov.uk/contact-pension-service.

You can usually pay voluntary contributions for the past six years.

The deadline is April 5 each year.

For example, you have until April 5, 2030, to compensate for gaps in the tax year 2023 to 2024.

The deadline has been extended for making voluntary contributions for the tax years 2016 to 2017 or 2017 to 2018.

You now have until April 5, 2025, to pay.

Find out how to pay for your contributions by visiting www.gov.uk/pay-voluntary-class-3-national-insurance.

What is National Insurance?

NATIONAL Insurance is a tax on your earnings, or profits if you’re self-employed.

These contributions make you eligible for things like the state pension and certain benefits.

You’ll usually pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs) when you’re over the age of 16 and earning a certain amount.

For example, if you earn £1,000 a week, you pay nothing on the first £242.

Earn over that and you pay 10% on the next £725 – so £72.50. Then you pay 2%o on the rest, so £33, which works out as 66p.

For the self-employed rates are slightly different.

You can also get something known as National Insurance in some circumstances when you’re not working, for example when you have kids and claim certain benefits.

NICs are usually taken automatically by your employer and paid to HMRC, so you don’t need to do anything.

You can see how much NICs you pay on your wage slip.

Anyone working for themselves usually has to pay NICs themselves when completing a self-assessment tax return. 

To get the full state pension you probably would have needed to pay into it for about 35 years

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To get the full state pension you probably would have needed to pay into it for about 35 years
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