How to get the right expert advice about your pension

Have you got the right pension plan in place to save for your retirement? Do you have a few different pensions that you’d like to consolidate? Getting the right advice for your situation is crucial.

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What is pension advice?

It doesn't matter if you're just starting out on your plan for retirement, you're looking to consolidate a few existing pension pots to save money, or are approaching retirement and trying to work out how best to use your hard-earnt savings - getting independent pension advice could be worth thousands and thousands of pounds.

More than that, the right advice also offers peace of mind, letting you stop worrying about retirement and just live your life.

How does pensions advice work?

You'll need to answer a few questions about where you are on your retirement journey and what your goals are for the future to allow us to track down the most relevant adviser for you. Once you are paired up with your adviser, they deal with you directly.

What are the key things to consider when choosing a pension plan?

The first thing to look at is your workplace pension. These are a legal requirement for anyone aged 22 or over who is paid more than £10,000 a year.

Outside of government jobs and some older schemes, most people's work pensions are now "defined contribution". That means you (and your boss) pay money into a pot that is then is invested to grow. What you get back is based on how much you put in and how well that money is invested to grow.

There are some huge benefits to using this sort of workplace pension, including the ability to pay in from your pre-tax salary, low fees and compulsory top ups from your boss.

But you very rarely get to choose who your workplace pension is saved with - at least until you move jobs. At that point you're able to move the savings pot you've built up with your old employer to another scheme of your choice.

One thing you can set yourself on a workplace pension is your planned retirement age - or when you plan to stop saving and start spending the money. Many people simply set this to the state pension age (currently 66, but set to rise to 68 in the years ahead).

It's worth noting that setting it later or earlier changes how the money is invested. That's because most funds start shifting people to safer investments as they approach retirement to try and minimise the risk of a price crash. That means setting an earlier retirement age could see you miss out on potential growth.

Take a look at how much you're saving into your workplace pension, what the benefits are and whether you want to change your contribution levels or planned retirement age before looking at anything else.

After that, take a look at any old pensions you have, or potentially consider opening a new private pension. Existing pots can be moved to a new pension provider or consolidated to save money on fees and let you choose how you'll invest it yourself.

When it comes to choosing where to put your money, you need to think about your life stage and goals for retirement.

An independent pension adviser will be able to talk this through with you and guide you on the best places to put your savings to meet these goals.

You should also think about your 'investment style' and what you feel comfortable with, for example:

  • Cautious: You have a low tolerance for risk, so you'll want to invest in more stable assets. 

  • Aggressive: You are comfortable with risk in the short term for the chance of higher returns - perhaps because you are a long way from retirement now so have time to make up any losses. 

  • Balanced: You'd prefer a mix of stable assets and riskier ones.

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Last updated: 20 January, 2022

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