Pensions are simple in concept but can be complex in practice. It is vital to seek expert advice in order to ensure that correct planning is arranged.
At its most basic a pension is a fund that you build up over your working life in order to provide income for yourself in retirement.
While most people can rely on some level of state pension, the maximum basic state pension for a single person is currently £7,155 (old state pension rules) or £9,339 (new rules). Therefore, most people consider arranging additional pensions an essential part of their financial planning.
In order to assess your position, we will need to understand your previous history and any existing pension contracts you may have.
In short, we conduct an audit of your present arrangements. We assess the level of pension that your present arrangements might expect to provide at retirement, to establish whether there is a gap between what you want and what you might get.
Pensions: historical complexity (why we need all your information)
Since the 1970s there have been many types of pension and, sometimes, different types of scheme could have been given the same name. For example, there were retirement annuities, which were sometimes called (for marketing purposes) Personal Pension Plans. Then the Government created a new legal structure called Personal Pension Plans. The result was confusion. Add in Group Schemes, Group PPP, Money Purchase Schemes, S32 Buyout Policies, Stakeholder Pensions, SIPPs and more. So, you can see why this is a complex area.
Maximising existing pensions
In the course of a career you might have accrued various pensions with different employers, or through periods of self employment. This is a complex area and we strongly recommend that you supply us with all your pension documents so that we can assess them.
For most people, taking benefits is a simple matter of calculating the total value available, and then taking some as tax free cash and some as income (normally through drawdown or an annuity).
Pension eligibility depends on personal circumstances. Tax rules and allowances are not guaranteed and may change in the future. The value of pensions can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the amount you originally invested.