Pension freedoms – getting the right advice can help

Scottish Modern Apprenticeship Week 2015

Pensions

MoneyPlus Features Team

12th August 2015 at 3:45pm

On the 6 April 2015 the savings market fundamentally changed, and not just for people who’ve reached retirement. New pension freedoms affected anyone who is saving for the long-term.

But with much more flexibility and choice on offer, which is a positive for savers, it can be a little overwhelming to know what to do for the best. But remember, you don’t have to do it alone. Talking to a financial adviser can help.

If you already have a financial adviser, consider reviewing your retirement plans with them in light of the new rules. If you don’t, you may want to consider whether you would benefit from advice.

What are the benefits?

Not everyone needs an adviser, but because money doesn’t come with instructions, most people will benefit by receiving financial advice from a competent professional, even if they feel they have their financial house in order. By getting financial advice, you can be confident that you’ll get a decision that best meets your needs and is suitable for your particular circumstances.

Be prepared

However an adviser’s time and experience doesn’t come free, so to get the most bang for your buck it’s well worth being prepared before you go in. Having an idea of the topics you’d like to cover beforehand will give you a structure for your meeting and help you make the most of their time.

So to help get you started here are four top tips to pension planning that we think getting the right advice could benefit from:

  • Check how your pension savings are invested. You might have selected the funds years ago, and they may no longer reflect your wishes today. Or perhaps you are in a ‘default’ fund, one which was automatically selected for you at the beginning. Either way, have a look and see if the funds suit you. If you’re not sure, speak to an expert.
  • Be aware of scams – the new flexibilities also give more opportunities for scammers. So remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Check before you do anything.
  • If you’re approaching retirement and have an ISA or other savings, you might want to review these in light of the new opportunities to access more of your pension money at age 55 – this won’t suit everyone but could be worth considering.
  • Think ahead about how you might want to access your savings in retirement – you’ll have a choice of accessing cash, keeping your savings invested, drawing a flexible income, buying a fixed income or some combination of these – you’ll feel more confident making your final decision if you’ve spent time thinking about what’s right for you in advance.

Pension freedoms – Take control

Financial advice is not just about answering a few topical questions; it can give you direction and control, help make your money work harder and also avoid making any expensive mistakes.

As the saying goes, if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Enlisting the help of an experienced, trustworthy and well qualified financial planner will help keep you on track to achieving your financial goals.

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation and follow us on twitter @StandardLifeUK and Facebook and share your experiences of what pension freedoms have meant for you.

The information in this blog or any response to comments should not be regarded as financial advice. A personal pension is an investment. Its value can go up or down and may be worth less than you paid in. Laws and tax rules may change in the future. The information here is based on our understanding in August 2015.