Our qualified pension experts can advise on the best pension options for you & your family's future ...

As “Whole of Market” financial advisers we are not tied to any one provider, so we remain entirely impartial & unbiased, and work only in the very best interests of all our clients.

We are well placed to provide you with fully independent and impartial advice, and access to all the best product providers.

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Starting a pension

We can help you to make sure you have the necessary plans in place to start a pension, which can work towards the retirement you desire.

We have a fantastic range of products and funds to choose from and as qualified advisers you can be sure of receiving the best advice. Take your first step on the journey to a better retirement by contacting us today.

A pension is money you’ll use to live on when you retire. Most people get a State Pension from the government, which covers basic needs but often does not provide that dream retirement. To give you a good standard of living once you stop working, it’s usually necessary to save some extra money in a pension fund. Your retirement will hopefully be around 30 years, so your pension planning needs to provide funds to allow a good standard of living during that time.

Your needs may change as you go through life so review what you’re saving regularly to make sure you’ll still be able to have the lifestyle you’re planning.

How much you’ll need to put away for your pension depends on:

  • What you can afford to save
  • How many working years you have to save
  • What your needs and desires will be when you retire
  • Your pension planning checklist
  • Think about the lifestyle you want when you retire and the commitments you’re likely to have.

When planning how much pension you’ll need during your retirement you will need to consider things such as:

  • The cost of your home. If you own your home, your mortgage is often one of your biggest expenses. If you can pay it off before you retire, your outgoings may drop considerably. You can work out how many years it has to run. If you rent your home, you’ll still have to pay rent when you retire.
  • Your fuel bills. Gas and electric bills may be higher if you’re at home more and as you get older. Make sure you budget a bit extra and find out if there’s any help you can get such as a Winter Fuel Payment or energy efficiency measures for your home.
  • Paying your debts. Try to plan for any borrowing to be paid off before you retire.
  • Your expenses. Some expenses may be lower or disappear when you stop working. For example, you might be able to spend less on clothes, travelling expenses or lunches. The lifestyle you want to enjoy. What kinds of things will you have to pay for? Will you need more or less money for holidays? How much money will you need for hobbies or other activities?
  • Your partner’s expenses. If your pension is also supporting a partner or someone else, remember to take their expenses into account as well. What other income you’ll have. For example, from other savings and investments.
  • How the benefits system could change, particularly if your retirement is a long way off. If things change during your working life, remember to review your pension plan. Your State Pension age. This is the age at which you’ll be able to claim State Pension.
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Review your exisiting pension

Get the benefit of a free initial consultation and no-obligation, unbiased advice.

With our free no-obligation pension reviews you can have your pension(s) checked by one of our FCA regulated and suitably qualified pension advisers. You will have nothing to pay upfront, and you do not have to make any kind of commitment at all. Once reviewed we will supply you with a user-friendly report informing you of:

  • Exactly where you stand with regard to your current pension(s)
  • Your available pension options
  • What is best to should do next and how much it could cost

Our qualified pension advisers can help you in a number of ways, including ...

  • Reviewing your overall retirement plans
  • Checking how much you’ve been able to save and how much income it would provide in retirement
  • Making sure you are not paying excessive fees
  • Ensuring your money is held in good quality investments
  • Assessing your pension against the lifetime allowance
  • Using all tax allowances available to you
  • Locating old or lost pensions

Your pension will have a large impact on how you are able to live your life in the future. With this in mind, if it’s not performing how you need it to then the sooner you review your pension and make the necessary changes the better, no matter what stage of life you are at.

You’re not alone if it is, but don’t worry we’ve seen it all before. So if you can’t locate your pension paperwork don’t be concerned, get in touch with us and let our pension advisers assist in getting it all straight.

The following list will give you an idea of what of what to expect from a pension review:

  • A clear overview of your current pension position, how it’s performing, and your available options.
  • An assessment of your circumstances including what you want to achieve now and in the future.
  • Recommendations clearly detailing how any advised changes could help you to meet your objectives.
  • Explanation of any benefits you may lose by transferring from your current provider and how the change could compensate for these.
  • A quote for the cost to you to follow the recommendation and how your pension would be managed going forward.

Is the pension review really a no-obligation review, well yes it is, put simply:

  • You will have absolutely nothing to pay for your pension review or our recommendations.
  • There is also no obligation for you to follow the advice we provide

With a no obligation review it will not cost you a penny to find out if you could change your current pension for the better. So, at the least you will get the peace of mind of knowing that you have checked your pension and it’s on track. And if you could do better elsewhere then now is the right time to make a change.

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Additional voluntary contributions

An AVC pension is an 'additional voluntary contribution' pension that you can build alongside your workplace pension scheme.

It can be a tax-efficient method of boosting your retirement savings as any additional voluntary contributions you make to your pension are deducted from your wages before tax. AVC pensions are particularly useful if you’ve put off saving for retirement until later life or have disposable income that you’d like to save efficiently.

You can pay as much or as little as you like into your AVC pension as long as you don’t exceed the pension contribution limit, which applies to all of your pensions. For 2019/20 this limit is set at 100% of your income, with a cap of £40,000.

AVC pensions qualify for tax relief from the government. The standard amount of tax relief is a 25% tax top up for basic rate taxpayers, meaning that if you put £100 into your pension pot, HMRC effectively adds another £25.

AVC pensions are offered by your employer or its board of trustees, depending on the company you work for. How it could benefit you will depend on the type of workplace pension you have in place.

If you have a defined contribution pension, you’ll be able to join a defined contribution AVC scheme. The money you pay into an AVC scheme will be invested and the value of your pension will be based on how much money you pay in and how your investments perform over time.

If you have a defined benefit pension you can save any extra contributions into a defined benefit AVC or what’s called an ‘added years AVC’. As defined benefit pensions pay a retirement income based on your salary and the number of years you’ve worked for your employer, defined benefit AVCs are quite different to defined contribution AVC schemes.

Instead of contributing additional money to be invested, the money you pay into a defined benefit AVC will be used to buy extra time in your employer’s defined benefit pension scheme. This can then be used to increase your pension benefits upon retirement.

Provided that your current employer offers AVCs, they can be a flexible way of topping up your retirement savings as they allow you to make either regular or lump sum payments at any time. You can also transfer your AVC to a new employer, should you change jobs, as long as they have a compatible scheme.

How you choose to cash in an AVC at 55 will depend on the rules of the scheme and it may be possible to withdraw it all as a lump sum, keep your money invested via drawdown or purchase an annuity. However you decide to access your AVC pension, after the first 25% tax-free amount, income tax will be charged at your highest rate.

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Claiming your pension benefits

Make sure you are getting the full benefits available from your pension arrangements. If you are over the age of 55, you could access some or all of your pension to use as you wish.

No doubt, you have worked hard to save for your retirement, so if you are approaching retirement or want to access your existing pension arrangements, it is important that you make the right choice for you.

You could take some of your pension as a lump sum, you can look to buy an annuity with your money, or you can use the new flexible-access drawdown arrangements available as a result of the Freedom of Pensions Act.

Allow us to explain the options available to you in a friendly, jargon-free way, so that you can understand and make the right choice for you, and as Chartered Financial Planners, as always, you can be sure of receiving the best advice.

Following the pension reforms of 2015 it’s now easier than ever to manage your pension. Whether you’re approaching retirement or are thinking ahead, there are several options to consider – including how to draw money out of your pension.

If you qualify for the State Pension and have also paid into a workplace pension over the course of your career, you’ll be able to access each fund at a different age. The State Pension age is fixed by the government and you’re unable to withdraw a weekly pension until you reach it. The State Pension age is currently 65 for men and women, and looks set to increase to 66 by 2020 and 67 by 2028.

It’s possible to access a workplace or personal pension much earlier. Once you reach your 55th birthday you can withdraw all of your pension fund. You can take up to 25% as a lump sum without paying tax, and will be charged at your usual rate for any subsequent withdrawals. You can use all of the money to buy an annuity, which will pay out a guaranteed income for the rest of your life, or reinvest your pension fund so it can provide you with income as you require it.

Following the pension reforms of 2015 it’s now easier than ever to manage your pension. Whether you’re approaching retirement or are thinking ahead, there are several options to consider – including how to draw money out of your pension.

Our service combines all of your old pensions into one easy to manage online plan. Funds are managed by the biggest global investment firms such as BlackRock, State Street Global Advisors, HSBC and Legal & General.

You’ll be able to track how your funds are performing through an online dashboard and once you reach 55 you can access your money in just a few simple steps. As long as there are no issues verifying your bank details, it will take around 7-10 working days for you to receive your money.

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