Making the most of pension freedoms

Posted by siteadmin on Thursday 14th of June 2018.

The people have spoken and they love freedom!

Recent figures show pension fund withdrawals in the 2017-18 year were worth £6.7bn, the highest figure since the reforms were introduced in 2015.

Before the change in legislation, the majority of pensioners would purchase an annuity with their pension pot, which would guarantee them an income for life. The pension reforms now mean that those over the age of 55 have access to their pension funds and more choice and flexibility over how they fund their retirement.

Clearly pensioners are beginning to embrace this opportunity, with a total of 220,000 making half a million withdrawals between them in the first quarter of 2018. That’s an increase of 20,000 from the previous quarter. Initially, there had been concern over isolated examples of pensioners blowing their entire savings on luxury goods and services, but responsible and widespread use of the reforms is now underway.

It’s true that although savers have more freedom and flexibility as a result of the reforms, it does mean they also have greater responsibility. This means that it’s more crucial than ever to follow sound financial advice. Samantha Seaton of Moneyhub, the budgeting app, shares this view stating, “While this flexibility is being embraced, it has also brought into sharp focus the importance of financial advice. As customers find their finances increasingly fragmented across multiple providers, it can be very worthwhile consulting a financial adviser who can provide a picture of their clients’ entire financial situation.” Research has shown that many if not most pensioners lack the knowledge to enable them to make the right decisions regarding their pension pot. Policymakers and the wider financial sector are now working to address this.

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