Understanding your pension
I came across an example of an experience that most financial planners have from time to time. An adviser took on a new client. The clients believed that they had about, (let’s call it X) in their pensions, it surprised them and their adviser to learn that in fact they were worth considerably more (X + about £300,000).
The way the story was framed within the financial pages suggested that the adviser had created a huge return, in fact this was nothing to do with the adviser and rather missing the point. The point being that many people simply do not know what their pensions are worth. I do not believe that this is because of a lack of intelligence, but rather the very confusing statements issued by most pension companies.
Have a look at your pension statement, does it actually tell you what your pension (or investment) is actually worth? There’s the rub, sometimes admitting not understanding something because we are told “it’s rather obvious” is a very difficult admission. Yet I cannot emphasise enough that there are no stupid questions when it comes to your money. Any adviser that dismisses your question as “stupid” should be dismissed. His or her job is to sufficiently explain what you have, what it does, what it’s worth and why you’ve got it. If you don’t know, change your adviser.