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Freedoms to turn pensions into money you can use

One of the most important decisions you will make for your future

Under the pension freedoms rules introduced in April 2015, once you reach the age of 55, you can now take your entire pension pot as cash in one go if you wish. However, if you do this, you could end up with a large Income Tax bill and run out of money in retirement. It’s essential to obtain professional advice before you make any major decisions about how to access your pension pot.

Delaying taking your pension

Restrictions or charges for changing your retirement date

You might be able to delay taking your pension until a later date if your scheme or provider permits this. If you want your pension pot to remain invested after the age of 75, you’ll need to check with your pension scheme or provider that they will allow this. If not, you might need to transfer to another scheme or provider who will.

Purchase an annuity

Choosing a taxable income for the rest of your life

You can normally withdraw up to a quarter (25%) of your pot as a one-off tax-free lump sum, then convert the rest into a taxable income for life called an ‘annuity’. There are different lifetime annuity options and features to choose from that affect how much income you would get. You can also choose to provide an income for life for a dependent or other beneficiary after you die.

Flexible retirement income

Re-investing funds designed to provide you with a regular taxable income

With this flexible retirement income option known as ‘flexi-access drawdown’, you can normally take up to 25% (a quarter) of your pension pot or of the amount you allocate for drawdown as a tax-free lump sum, then re-invest the rest into funds designed to provide you with a regular taxable income. You set the income you want, though this might be adjusted periodically depending on the performance of your investments. Unlike with a lifetime annuity, your income isn’t guaranteed for life – so you need to manage your investments carefully.

Small cash sums from your pot

Taking money from your pension as and when you need it

You can use your existing pension pot to take cash as and when you need it and leave the rest untouched where it can continue to grow tax-free. For each cash withdrawal, normally the first 25% (quarter) is tax-free, and the rest counts as taxable income. There might be charges each time you make a cash withdrawal and/or limits on how many withdrawals you can make each year.

Cashing in your entire pension pot

Without very careful planning, you could run out of money and have nothing to live on

You could close your pension pot and take the entire amount as cash in one go if you wish. Normally, the first 25% (quarter) will be tax-free, and the rest will be taxed at your highest tax rate by adding it to the rest of your income. Once you’ve taken all the money, your pension will close and you won’t be able to make any further payments into it.

What’s important to you?

Reaching those milestones starts with setting clear financial goals

We all have dreams for the future, and many of those dreams require money and planning to make them become a reality. Reaching those milestones starts with setting clear financial goals. Making decisions with a clear endpoint in mind can make it easier to achieve financial security and allow you to enjoy your life to the full, so we’ve put together this brief rundown to help you get closer to your goals today.

What you need to know

Winners and losers under the new State Pension

The figures for people qualifying for the full new State Pension following its introduction in April 2016 reveal almost two in five pensioners (365,290 people, or 38% of claimants) receive less than £150 a week, while a further 314,290 people (33% of claimants) receive more than £150 a week[1].

Not ready to give up working and retire?

Almost half of UK employees expect to work beyond the age of 65

When you picture yourself in your golden years, are you sitting on a beach, hitting the golf course or working behind a desk? Not ready to give up working and retire? For those who find adjusting to retirement difficult, the transition can be made smoother by working. For many, working provides more than a salary. It provides happiness and purpose, and staying in the working world can provide many lifestyle benefits in addition to financial gains.

Retirement resilience

Taking the reins and having more control over your pension pot

Saving for retirement is one of our greatest financial priorities, especially as life expectancy is growing and retirements are likely to last longer. It may be the case that you’d prefer to take the reins and have more control over your pension pot. For appropriate investors, one option to consider is a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP).