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Get the most out of your private and state pensions

Emer Kirk, chair of Connect Women in Pensions, offers tips for a sparkling retirement

A recent survey from the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) confirmed that out of 6, 430 Defined

Contribution schemes surveyed, the average total contribution rate was 11.1%. This was made up of

  • Average Employer Contribution Rate 5.7%

  • Average Employee Contribution Rate 5.4%

The IAPF's findings also suggested that the average pension fund for an individual earning €50,000

per annum and saving in their pension for 30 years will deliver an annual income in retirement of

€8,000. By comparison, the State Contributory Pension currently delivers an annual income in retirement

from age 66 of up to €12,000. For most private and public sector employees the total contribution

rate is up to14.75% (employer up to 10.75% and employee 4%).

For the self-employed, who pay Class S PRSI, the total contribution rate is 4%. It is worth noting that the recent ‘Actuarial Review of the Social Insurance Fund’ highlighted that social insurance benefits (which includes the State

Pension) offer excellent value for money for the self-employed, those with shorter contribution

histories (which may include women who have taken time away from the workforce) and those on

the lower part of the income distribution.

You should check your PRSI contribution records in the run up to retirement to confirm the amount of the State Contributory Pension you are entitled to receive or to rectify any errors in your records. You might be surprised at the apparent gaps in your PRSI records which can come back to haunt you when you go to claim the

State Pension. It’s easy to request a Statement on line at


For women, the Department of Social Protection Homemaker’s Scheme may be used to fill these

gaps. Further information about this scheme is available at


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