Are you making the most of your employer pension?

If you are one of the more fortunate expats that retain membership of an employer pension scheme, it is possible that you are not taking full advantage of the benefits that are on offer.

You see, the way a typical pension works is that staff pay a fixed percentage of their wage into the scheme and then the employer pays in as well.

What is less well known however, is that, especially among larger employers, additional “matched” contributions are available if a worker chooses to save beyond the standard level.

For example, Tesco operates a scheme where the basic worker contribution is 4% of salary and they then match this amount.

However, if an employee chooses to contribute more than the basic level, Tesco will match the increased amount too (up to a maximum of 7½% of salary).

The key, is that it all depends on whether staff are aware that their employer is offering to match (or more than match if you are higher up the corporate food chain) contributions above the threshold.

A lot of employers don’t make the additional match widely known. Which is hardly surprising as a) it will cost them more and b) they only introduced it grudgingly as they were under pressure from employees due to closing their original defined benefit pension scheme.

The solution is simply to check the pension section of your employee handbook or ask your friendly HR contact whether any such additional benefits are on the table.

Given that, according to data from Royal London, there are more that 3 million people who are not taking advantage of such offers, it is worth a simple call to find out if you are missing out on free money.

[I’d like to ask a favour if I may. If your company is one of the ones that does offer an additional level of matching beyond the standard, please let me know. This will allow me to grow my database of such companies that can be used for the benefit of others. Thanks :)]

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at