WITHDRAWING MONEY FROM YOUR PENSION

TODAY’S BLOG

WITHDRAWING MONEY FROM YOUR PENSION

I was recently asked to contribute to a piece that appeared in The Telegraph on 15/02/2019. The journalist, Jonathan Jones had heard of me and asked if I would offer some insight into the maths that he was posed with.

The short version is that a 69-year old reader had a pension pot of about £500,000 and wanted £35,000 a year as income, which is about 7% of the fund. The crunch question is was this sustainable?

Sustainable Withdrawal Rate

The short answer is no it isn’t likely to be. However, it is all about context, for starters, the investors other assets, state of health, lifestyle, marital and family circumstances. However, I was asked to ignore this. In the real world of financial planning, no good adviser would ignore these important elements, but certainly for the sake of maths, I was and remain happy to provide the basic outline.

It is historically “good advice” to assume a 4% income as sustainable. This can increase with inflation each year and ensure that the original fund remains alive. All of this is subject to the real world of investment returns, charges and taxes and to put it bluntly, investor behaviour.

Ringmaster

REVIEWS ARE VITAL

I don’t know any adviser that would set up an investment and a withdrawal of 4% a year and never review this. I imagine there are a few out there, just not those that I meet or have any sort of professional relationship with. All financial planning is based on the premise that life changes and plans need reviewing. Whilst I advocate cash flow modelling, which is a brilliant tool, it is a very good aid to understanding the future, but not predicting it. Life and investment returns are not linear. Stuff happens, things change.

I stand by everything in the article, but would caveat it with some real world experience and impress the need to review. The certainty of outcomes is myth. There is no way that someone can say with certainty, that taking £20,000 a year from a £500,000 will last for another 50 years. Its ought to, based upon historic data, it would have done, but that’s why we review.

High Equity Content

Certainly, more exposure to the real engine of a portfolio (equities / stocks) is vital and the more you have the more likely you are to have a rising income for life, but a far more volatile experience. In the real-world investors behave badly, anxiety turns to fear which turns to panic, which turns into a request to “sell, sell, sell” yet this is almost certainly, always the wrong thing to do in a portfolio of globally diverse holdings. I demonstrated this using our software, showing the historic sustainable withdrawal rates for different portfolios and the chance of future success. We also revealed the impact of life expectancy. Of course Jonathan didn’t have the page space to go into depth on the fullness of our conversation and he may also have been heavily edited. That is the difficult life of any journalist, who must create something to catch attention and fill space. The job of a financial planner is explanation, understanding and constructing a robust, reviewed ongoing service.

The art of self-delusion

This is something that many investors, particularly DIY investors believe that they are immune to (lack of fear). Most end up chasing returns, usually buying the current hot tips or best performers. However, this is not the Premier League, it is the real world of investing, past performance guarantees nothing and is certainly no indicator of the future when it comes to stock selection “success”. See Dalbar.com for information about how badly investors underperform.

I think the article is a good overview, but please do not infer advice from it. Context is everything. For all I know, the investor concerned was born in 1950 with a life expectancy of a few months and may have a much younger spouse with three or four children. The advice should always be suitable to the circumstances of the investor.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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WITHDRAWING MONEY FROM YOUR PENSION2019-02-20T17:28:29+00:00

DOCTOR, DOCTOR… IN THE TELEGRAPH

TODAY’S BLOG

DOCTOR DOCTOR… IN THE TELEGRAPH

You may have come across my details in a piece in The Telegraph on Monday 10 September 2018 by financial journalist Laura Miller. Laura outlines a problem that is being observed in hospitals around the UK, in that some doctors are in the ludicrous position of effectively being forced to reduce their available hours due to the additional taxes that they will suffer for additional income. This has the inevitable potential to create longer waiting lists.

Before we go any further, let me say that Laura asked me to check some sums from a Consultant doctor who was making the point about the annual allowance excess taxes. I have made no secret of the fact that I believe the tapered annual allowance is an utterly stupid Government policy. It isn’t the first and of course will not be the last.

THIS IS GOING TO HURT

My only concern is that some may interpret the information as “greedy doctors worry about tax and so work less”. So I wish to make one point crystal clear. I have advised medics for over 25 years. I have met hundreds of them. I have never, NEVER, not even once met one that was motivated by money as a career choice. The early career of a junior doctor is particularly traumatic and frankly the NHS and Department of Health should be ashamed of the working pressures and timetables that they put them under. If you need any convincing, simply have a look at Adam Kay’s Book – “This is Going To Hurt”. Yet the system continues, because it is always under strain and there are not enough doctors to do the work within “normal” working hours or shifts.

DOCTORS EARNINGS

It is true that some doctors can earn very good incomes. The £10,000 annual allowance only applies to those with income over £210,000 – which is a lot of money by most standards. However, these are people that are highly skilled and at the top of their profession, have given way more than their pound of flesh and are constantly scrutinised for errors and lambasted by politicians and media whenever it suits. For the record, this is not Laura’s intent.

The rather ludicrous rules also impact any doctor whose pension income improves by more than £2,106 in a year. This too would push them over the standard annual allowance and potentially suffer excess tax charges. The tax charge is treated effectively as income tax at the highest rate, despite the fact that the pension has not actually been paid to them, conceivably might never be paid to them if they were to die before retirement. In essence a tax on future, yet to be received income. This sort of rise in pension benefit could come from something as innocuous as moving up the grades, or perhaps for impressive work in the form of Clinical Excellence Awards – or even returning to a full-time post.

HEARING PROBLEM

This is all to do with the way in which the Annual Allowance is calculated for those in final salary schemes. I wrote to the previous Chancellor, twice, without reply on this subject when he presided over the introduced rules. Perhaps Laura will have more success.

Suffice to say this is a complex piece of pension planning, a headache that neither the doctor, nor the NHS really should have to waste time on. Yet my advice is to all doctors is to request a Pension Annual Savings Statement as well as their Total Rewards Statement and ensure all payslips are carefully retained – as well as information about any and every form of income they receive from all possible sources. This is more unpaid work, increased stress and bureaucracy to satisfy some utterly numpty thinking at HM Treasury…. Nothing new in that though is there.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

=

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

WHAT WE’RE ALL ABOUT

If you would like a no-nonsense one page document explaining what financial planning is all about please enter your email here.

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DOCTOR, DOCTOR… IN THE TELEGRAPH2018-10-10T16:44:32+01:00

The Fuss About Platforms

Head Over Heels [81] – the fuss about platforms

You may have come across news in various papers (The Telegraph for example) about some investment platforms being costly and offering inducements to advisers to use them. I couldn’t miss the opportunity of commenting about this.

A platform is basically an online administration service. This enables your investments to be traded, bought, sold and rebalanced. Some enable you to hold all sorts of investments, others are more restricted to mainstream funds. The platform has legal responsibilities in delivering its service and providing statements, contract notes and so on. Every financial adviser that decides to use a platform on which to hold your investments, must justify why it is selected.

Money, Money, Money [76]

Some people will always see price as the first hurdle, if one platform is much like any other. Some charge a fixed fee, most charge a percentage. Most have a sliding scale, so that the more you have “on the platform” you begin to have charges reduced through a tiered charging system. However, this is your money, not a takeout meal. Reliability is crucial.

Ring, Ring..[73]

You can have a platform with rather more “bells and whistles” but invariably, this comes with additional costs. The ability to hold investment property within a pension, shares and so on, all have various additional costs. Some also charge for each type of “wrapper” which is really a charge for a product – a SIPP, Flexible Drawdown Pension, ISA etc.

Naturally these costs all begin to add up and a valid question is really whether you would make use of all the “bells and whistles”. Many will not, but some certainly will. So, selection of a platform ought to suit you more than your adviser. One of the main advantages of any platform is the saved aggravation in attempting to deal with different companies or constructing a portfolio of funds from very different investment groups. I cannot repeat what I think of some providers but let’s just say that they give the impression that they have only just come across a fax machine.

Move On [77]

One of the age-old problems of financial services is inertia. Many will stick with what they know, despite the reality that there are better alternatives. The hassle with all those forms can seem overwhelming. In addition, any adviser that guarantees that moving from A to B will be better, is delusional, the new arrangement may be considerably, better, cheaper, faster etc, but it is not possible to guarantee a better outcome. In the same way that I cannot guarantee that I will rise from my bed tomorrow, I should, but I may not.

The temptation for clients and advisers is to believe the marketing. In addition, advisers may receive helpful bits of kit to enable them to do a better job. This then begins to blindside and erode impartiality.

Knowing Me, Knowing You..[76]

So, what do we do at Solomons? Well we pay for all the tools we use so that we can deliver the service we want. These evolve. This year I have started to use at least 3 new different tools. I’m aware of bias and so we get an independent company to research and assess platforms for us. We do not influence the research or results. We provide details about who we currently use and an overview of the sort of clients and their holdings that we have. We do this once a year.

Most of our clients do not need all the bells and whistles, so we use platforms that suit their requirements. There are lots of unused funds, but that’s not the same thing.  If I want to buy a suit I go to a shop that sells suits, I don’t by them all, some would be too small (most) and some too large, wrong style, colour and so on. That does not mean I am paying for the other suits, merely going to somewhere to obtain what I want.

Another Town, Another Train [73]

If there are good reasons to change your platform, we will advise you to do so. There will not be any new costs because we treat this as a part of the annual fees that we charge for your investments on a platform. All the platforms we have selected to date do not apply exit charges, unlike Waterloo [74]. This was done deliberately.

Cheapest is not best. Back to the suit buying… (surely you bright folk get it) price is one element of the purchase. Does it do the job? Well, when it comes to technology, sadly, all too often platforms break, which is more than a minor irritant when attempting to comply with regulations, designed to protect investors, albeit often with utterly daft realities.

The Winner Takes It All [80]

Good platforms are about two things – sustainability and innovation. The price differential between good platforms is nothing like as significant as these two. Is their business model sustainable? Most platforms do not make a profit, which to put it bluntly means that something must change. That’s just The Name of The Game [77]. Those that do not innovate will eventually be left behind, and when your business is essentially a technology solution, that is a bad business plan.

In summary, we do not use platforms because of the tools they provide, or any other incentives. We will move you from one platform to another if there is good reason to do so. All platforms that we have advised, do not apply exit charges. We tend to only use platforms where the bells and whistles come at no extra cost or are not charged if not used. We like innovation but above all, the business model of the platform needs to be robust.

When All is Said and Done [79], we look after our clients for decades, not months or a couple of years, but On and On and On [80]. Decades. So there seems to me to be no point in ripping anyone off. What goes around comes around and all that…. and with the idea of A to B, platforms and things coming around again, its all about money, money, money… so here’s the trailer for Mamma Mia 2.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Email me to get in touch
The Fuss About Platforms2018-07-23T15:56:33+01:00
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