Saving for retirement

Saving for retirement is not something that’s often talked about in self-employment. The wide majority of my self-employed friends currently don’t make a pension contribution. I am really interested in financial independence and thought it was worth starting a conversation here. It would be great to bring it in some shape or form to Coconut and promote saving for retirement as a best practice.

I recently signed up to Penfold to automate my pension contribution. Penfold is designed for the self-employed and thought that it could be a great partner for Coconut as you both serve the same audience. The cross-sell could be beneficial to both parties.

I love that it allows flexibility, it visually feels aligned with Coconut and I love how easy it is to use, great customer service (also uses Intercom) and the government 25% top-ups are automated.

Anyways just some thoughts! I am curious. Anyone else saving or not saving for retirement? What services do you use?


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Hi @rewildingco, thanks for posting this. Really interested to see what others thoughts are too. I know the founder of Penfold called Pete. If there was enough interest, we could have a Pensions Ask Me Anything (AMA) session in here - let me know if you’d like me to try and arrange that.


@samoc Oh yes, that could be interesting, great idea!

Hello @rewildingco @samoc!

Thanks for bring this topic up. It’s always at the back of my mind too.

For the first six months after going freelance I didn’t pay into a personal pension and felt constantly guilty about it. I did a ton of research but was overwhelmed by the choices and complexity. Not to mention the fear of getting it wrong and never knowing. In the end I decided the safest/easiest option was to start paying into my workplace pension (Aviva, index tracker) from my last job. No doubt it’s not the best option though. I’m open to changing in future.

Another thing I struggle with is deciding how much to pay. I feel like I’m probably paying less into mine than I should be (if my enforced workplace contributions from the olden days are anything to go by…).

Julia, how did you decide how much to pay into Penfold each month? And do you adjust the amount in periods of feast or famine or stick to a regular schedule?

Hi @corissa, thank you for joining the discussion!

The advice I read this week said that you should save half of your age i.e. if you’re 30, save 15% of your income. When I did the maths, it equalled to the same amount as other methods I had read previously. You can also consider the government 25% top-up. If you save let’s say £300, you’ll get an extra £100.

I often read that you should save 30% off your income so then retirement should be a portion of that, whatever that feels comfortable. When you’re self-employed, your income might not be as regular so allow yourself the flexibility of adjusting your payments if you need to. Penfold have a simple calculator on their site to help you work it out. Consider when you’d like to aim to retire and you can adjust your payments.

I hope that helps!

Very helpful, appreciate your thoughts @rewildingco :slight_smile: and uh oh, I’m definitely miles off base. Ha!

I had a play around with Penfold’s calculator. It’s great, much easier to understand than others I tried back in the day. Especially love “Einstein money” as their route into explaining compound interest.

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Found this thread today whilst looking to see if anyone was using pension services that they could recommend. I own a limited company and work in IT although for the past 25 years I worked as a permanent member of staff and didn’t really have to worry about a pension as I just opted in. Now I need to find a new provider.

I came across Raindrop who appear to be aiming at the same sort of target market as Penfold and Coconut. Anyone have any experience of either company?