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The Money Doctor: I have no pension

Q I am married, 43 years old, with two children and no pension.

I understand employers have to provide a facility for employees to contribute to a pension, a PRSA. Can you explain what it is as I really don't fancy living on the State pension when I am 68. Andy, Newbridge

A There are more than 420,000 Irish citizens over the age of 65 and by 2050, this number will grow to 1.8 million. Half of the current earning population of Ireland does not have a pension, which means they'll rely on the State pension (currently €230.30 per week) when they retire.

As you know, the retirement age is also increasing to 68, so you are right to be concerned. PRSAs (Personal Retirement Savings Accounts) were introduced in 2003 forcing all employers to set up a debit system to allow employees to contribute to a pension plan, if there was not one already in place. While they do NOT have to contribute to their employees' pensions, they MUST nominate an insurance company to allow these pension payments to be made by their employees. You can open a PRSA with any insurance company. There is a maximum annual management charge of 1pc, together with a maximum contribution charge of 5pc. There are a number of rules, therefore seek independent advice.

Best short-term deposit rates

Q I have €70,000 from the sale of my house and am not rebuying for six months to a year. Any ideas on where to put the money to make a gain for this short period? Maggie, Co Wicklow

A Safety and best rates are the two most important aspects. All the Irish deposit takers are guaranteed to the end of September. The feeling is that deposits invested for a fixed term after September will be guaranteed for that term. The two safest institutions are the State-owned An Post and Anglo Irish Bank, with An Post's 30-day notice deposit account plus attractive at 3pc (25pc DIRT on interest) while Anglo offer 3.5pc for their 12-month fixed account (also subject to DIRT). Best demand account is 3.3pc at UK Nationwide but it is guaranteed by the UK Financial Regulatory Authority up to £50,000 per person (€60,000). It is subject to DIRT, too.