The financial challenges facing us today are varied and demanding but one that remains constant is the desire for a reliable income providing security in retirement. With people now living very much longer and periods of recession hitting the cost of funding a pension, the need to provide choice and security at every stage in life has never been greater.
Our financial advisers have a wealth of experience of helping clients properly plan for retirement and will be happy to guide you through the number of pension savings options available. We’ll take the time to understand your circumstances and help you choose arrangements that best suit your needs.
One of the initial attractions for investing into a pension fund is that all contributions, up to the annual limits, attract tax relief. This means basic rate tax payers only pay 80% for their pension, while higher rate tax payers only pay 60%. The difference is made up in tax relief claimed back from HMRC.
Employers that make pension contributions can also claim full corporation tax relief on payments into directors or staff pension schemes.
Contributions into pensions can be invested in a wide range of assets. The growth of these assets will be aided by the fact that no capital gains tax applies to pension fund assets – meaning that pensions grow predominantly tax-free.
There is a great benefit of starting to build a pension fund as early as possible. Retirement funds will benefit from the combination of tax relief and tax-free compounding growth. Most of the value in a pension fund at retirement is built up from long-term savings.
The range of options that are now available to people at retirement is wider and more flexible than ever. People can access their retirement savings between ages 55 and 75. Funds can be converted into a guaranteed income for life or retained to provide a more flexible income.
People who elect to enjoy a flexible income arrangement are able to pass their funds on their death, to their spouse, children or even grandchildren. Pension funds once seen as retirement assets only are now legacy assets that multi-generations can enjoy free of inheritance tax.
Our financial advisers have a wealth of experience helping clients with their pensions and retirement planning. We can help you build and benefit from pension funds. We believe it’s important that you to have confidence in your pension arrangements and the peace-of-mind to enjoy life to the full.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pensions
Pension funds are long term savings plans and build value the longer they are invested. There is a great advantage in starting to build a pension fund as early as possible. Retirement funds benefit from a combination of tax relief and tax free compounding growth. Much of the capital value within a fund at retirement is built up in the earlier years as they have the longest to grow. Starting early gives retirees the option of lower overall cost of contributions, a larger fund and therefore either higher income at normal retirement or the option to retire earlier.
While there are annual contribution allowance limits, the simple answer is as much is as affordable. The greater the contributions the greater the tax advantage and ultimately the larger the pension fund.
Often employers offer pensions with matched funding. The employer will match the level of the members contributions. This is very beneficial and should be taken up.
Invariably an employer will make contributions in addition to the member’s contributions. These added contributions provide a significant advantage and should be taken up as early as possible.
The earliest age you are able to take benefits from a pension fund is age 55. One can take benefits and can also continue to work. Full retirement from a personal pension is very flexible and can take place at any time after age 55. Occupational pensions will have a set retirement date as benefits are calculated to this date. The age is usually 65. Early retirement is often available but with an early retirement penalty charge.
The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) offer an on-line forecast service called a BR19 request. A BR19 report provides a national insurance contribution history, currently accrued state pension benefits and a forecast of your basic state pension at your actual state pension age.
The decision over either an annuity or drawdown is often determined by the extent of other assets, the size of the pension fund and your attitude to risk. Both forms of pension income are available at the same time.
If you are fortunate to have built a large pension fund, have other assets to support retirement and have a balanced or speculative investment outlook then drawdown may suit you.
If you have limited assets and your pension is your only retirement asset you may wish to be certain and secure in the lifelong guarantee an annuity offers.
All investment carries risk. We can manage risk to acceptable levels of volatility through the blending of different types of assets that behave in different ways. Asset allocation can give investors’ confidence about the likely future range of returns and anticipated average likely return for each risk category of portfolio. We publish these returns every six months.
Each portfolio has a published anticipated average rate of return. This figure is the gross annual anticipated return but is not guaranteed. We publish our past five years cumulative and discrete performance as measured against the most relevant national risk related benchmark every six months. We are pleased to report that our portfolios consistently outperform the recognised national benchmarks.
Areas of Pension Advice
Chartered Financial Adviser
Independent Financial Adviser
Group Pension Administrator
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