Many have welcomed the UK government’s recent changes to pension rules which, in a nutshell, make pension funds more accessible and empower individuals to make their own choices about how they invest or spend their hard-earned funds.
Once thoughts of lavish holidays and new cars, which might suddenly seem affordable, have passed, we are finding most of our clients realise the responsibility they now have for their own future income and they want to sit down and plan their retirement.
From April 2015, many people will have almost total freedom to access their pension as they wish. They no longer need to buy an annuity; they are free to devise their own strategy for managing their pension pot.
Until that date, some restrictions exist. If you have a secure pension income of at least £12,000 a year, you can use what is called flexible drawdown, which allows you to take as much money from your pension pot as you like and be subjected to income tax at the appropriate rate.
Whatever remains in the pot stays invested in a tax advantaged environment.
For those with an income of less than £12,000 a year, a capped drawdown can be used, which places some limits on what can be withdrawn and when.
From April 2015 even these restrictions cease to exist and the question facing many now is not how much can they drawdown but how much should they access and when.
At the forefront of most of our clients’ minds is financial security. While annuities have had a bad press, many people also found them easy to understand and they were reliable.
Now, many people’s biggest fear is running out of funds too soon. The reality is that good financial planning is a must. Seek quality professional advice first.