The private pensions market has undergone a period of rapid and intensive change in the past year. In the next two years state pensions will also be transformed and inevitably there will be those who benefit from the changes and those who don’t.
This blog is written to give you the best chance of benefiting from the new pensions landscape; normally the savers who are informed, pro active, and realistic about their circumstances and entitlements retire wealthier.
Last year the Chancellor of the Exchequer made annuities non compulsory on”defined contributions” pensions, meaning that when a saver wants to access their pension they can decide exactly how to spend it.
This gives some the flexibility to use a lump sum from their pension to pay off mortgages or other debt, contribute towards grandchildren’s education fees or buy a new property.
The FCA Review
The FCA’s review of the market has exposed some annuity providers discouraging potential customers from shopping around and charging penalties to existing customers who did.
The FCA has not published the names of the worst offenders yet and is waiting on further information provided by companies about their practices before it decides to take action.
What does this mean for you?
If you are considering buying an annuity you need to make sure you compare the fees and charges of each annuity scheme.
Not only have “defined contributions” pensions undergone significant changes in the last year, but plans for state pensions have also changed.
The statutory pension in 2016 will increase to a uniform rate for all claimants of £148.40 per week, however if you were reach the age of 65 on or after April 1st 2020 you will have to wait a further year in order to be able to claim as retirement age will rise to 66 that year.
In 2028, people will only be able to retire at the age of 67, and it is this increase in retirement ages that has helped the Chancellor to appear ‘generous’.
That said, these calculations are all based on the fact that overall we’re living longer, healthier lives than ever before so there’s every reason to be positive.
What to do next…
At the start of each year it is important to audit your pension affairs. You need to find out how many pension pots you have and work out what is in them, how well they are performing, and what the likely yield will be.
Will your pension be able to meet your financial needs?
Is your pension sufficient for the retirement you have planned?
If you are ten or twenty years away from retirement it is important to know whether there is a shortfall between what you can afford and what you can envisage.
If you find yourself unhappy with your current pension provision and would like some advice on how you can provide for the future, why not talk to a professional financial adviser.