My personal view is that in general, some people find the whole subject of pensions and retirement very confusing, so much so that really important decisions about your future are “shelved”. If this resonates with you then you might want to consider getting some expert advice to help you plan your next steps.
When the Chancellor announced the Pensions Freedoms (which were introduced in 2015) giving people with defined contribution schemes the flexibility to manage their own pension pots in retirement, he also announced that people over 50 will be entitled to get free, impartial guidance on pension matters. The guidance, which is called Pension Wise, is being delivered by independent organisations, namely The Pensions Advisory Service and Citizens Advice. You must be over 50 to qualify, and you will be entitled to set up either a telephone consultation or a face-to-face session lasting around an hour. This is a free service and might be a great starting point on your pensions journey.
You can book a free session with Pension Wise here
Whilst Pension Wise is a great free service, they won’t be able to advise you on specific products, or where to invest your pension pot, but instead should be able to provide you with some general pensions advice and also answer any pension-related questions you might have. If you want to get specific advice then you will need to arrange to see a Financial Adviser – preferably an IFA (Independent Financial Adviser), who will be able to give you specific advice and recommendations. Once you appoint an IFA the process will generally be along the lines of:
Introductory meeting to get to know one another and discuss any questions you may have regarding the process (often these initial meetings are free)
Discuss and agree fee structure - usually, this will be a percentage based on the overall value of the pension / investment pot, or for specific work the fee structure could be an agreed fixed fee.
The adviser will complete a full analysis of your current position, your financial aims, your risk profile etc. – this is known as a Fact Find
The adviser will do his / her research and present a written recommendation on how to proceed
If you are in agreement, then the final step is for the adviser to take the necessary steps to proceed on your behalf with the recommended options.
Asking friends or family if they have used an IFA recently may be a good way to be introduced to an IFA who you can trust and work on your behalf to help you achieve your retirement goals. Alternatively, I have listed below a few online resources to help you find a local adviser in your area (none of the links below are paid affiliate links – just there to make it easy for you)
So, I hope this article is useful to those of you who might benefit from a free consultation with Pension Wise or for those that are seeking to appoint an IFA to work with you to reach your retirement goals.
Until next time (and don’t forget to subscribe)