Recent talk in the media of €324 billion pensions time-bomb may seem fairly dramatic and may have a degree of scaremongering involved but if you look behind the headlines the basic message is clear.

We as a nation won’t be able to rely on the state pension for our retirement income. With the average life expectancy for women being approximately eighty six and for men approximately eighty three, there is an income gap of around twenty years from normal retirement age.

The choices therefore are simple; either we give up the idea of retiring in our sixties and instead work well into our seventies or we take control ourselves right now!

Here are 10 reasons why you should start your own pension now…

1)  The early bird catches that worm

The sooner you start the better.  It might sound the most obvious statement but people are still leaving it too late to start.  Don’t wait until you approach retirement because it will be too late. Contribute now.

2)  Tax relief

Take advantage while it is still in place. There was talk when the IMF came to town that we might be forced to reduce the tax relief available on pensions but to date the government for good reasons has held firm. They realise the scale of the problems down the road and reducing the relief will only acerbate these problems.

3) Mind the gap

The state contributory pension is currently € 230.30 per week. Ask yourself even if that remains in place would it be enough to have a comfortable standard of living in your retirement.

4) Enjoy that retirement

If you have a decent pension in place you will be in a position to see those places you always wanted to see.

5)  Enjoy that retirement early

We all say how great it would be to retire early. If you rely on the state it will only be a matter of time until you will have to be 70 before you receive any payment. A properly funded pension gives you options to determine when and how you retire.

6)  We are living longer

Due to medical advances, a healthier lifestyle and improved road safety the average life expectancy is increasing every year. Will you be able to appreciate those extra years if you are relying on the State?

7)  Charges are down

Competition among the pension providers has never been so intense. Take advantage now while these deals are still in place. There is a lot of talk in the market about consolidation with both Irish Life and New Ireland being up for sale. If they go, a reduction in the number of market players has to mean less competition ergo higher charges.

8)  The returns are getting good

Pension funds although hit badly by the global recession have by and large made decent recovery over the last few years.

9)  You don’t have to be Gordon Gecko to play the market

Trust your financial adviser. Brokers like Ocean.ie will help you pick a fund that suits your risk profile and a provider that has a track record.

10)  Banks won’t give you a return anyway

With deposit interest rates at an all time low and set to drop even further soon the banks will be charging you to save with them.  Put those regular savings into a pension and as well as receiving the tax relief you could generate decent returns.