Clients should now have recieved a hard copy of Talking Money. This issue provides a little more “flesh on the bone” about the new pension freedom that the Chancellor outlined in his Budget. There are many very positive aspects of the changes announced and some are already in action. However some caution is needed and I imagine that there are likely to be some adjustments to the final terms, which are likely to be announced in the Autumn statement next month.
One of the main issues is that despite this making “grown up pensions” and providing people with choice, this does also come with a plethora of options that need thoughtful and careful reflection. Whilst the Chancellor told us that everyone would have free advice at the point of retirement, this has already been reduced to”free guidance” and in practice that means going along to the Citizens Advice Bureau to speak to someone who will almost certainly provide a guide and then refer you to an independent financial adviser.
As you may know, I spend a fair bit of the year attending conferences and training sessions. This is part of my own continual professional development (CPD) but there’s no lip-servcie to this – its pretty vital. The rules for pensions have altered, scrap that, been revolutionised in a “landmark” year for pensions. However despite the appearance of simplicity, there is even more need for good advice and for those that end up opting for a flexible pension rather than an annuity would be wise to review this decision regularly (one of the advantages of making it) and give proper consideration to guaranteed alternatives.
There are about 7.7million employed workers between the ages of 50-64 in the UK according to ONS reports. Even if there were an even demographic spread, that suggests a tidal wave of over 500,000 people reaching 65 each year. There are not enough hours in the day or qualified advisers to currently facilitate this easily. So make sure that your friends and colleagues are aware of all the options, but above all working with someone that puts pensions in their right context – your income to suit your lifestyle.