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Making up for lost time.

If you haven’t got a full National Insurance record you can boost what you do have with voluntary contributions so you get a better state pension when the time comes. Local Citizens Advice Bureau (details on www.citizensadvice.org.uk) can explain more about this, or you can get the free leaflet ‘Shortfalls in your NICs’ from HM Revenue & Customs at www.direct.gov.uk. Self-employed people with poor NI records can pay around Ł7 a week in what are called Class 3 contributions to top up their histories, for example.

Financial advisers say people with very bad NI records and very low state pension entitlements should consider putting money aside in other ways. A personal pension or other investment might make a big difference. If you want to speak to a local, independent financial adviser about your situation find one by looking at www.unbiased.co.uk.