Helpful friendly pension advice


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Welcome to The Pension Adviser

Whether you are looking to maximise your pension income now, or reviewing existing pension arrangements to make sure they achieve your goals, The Pension Adviser will be pleased to explain your options.The proposals outlined in the March 2014 Budget, whereby it will be possible to take unlimited, taxable withdrawals from most pensions, highlight the need for accurate information and good advice.

There are many ways that you are able to take an income from your accumulated pension pots and the different options can be confusing and overwhelming. By receiving Independent advice from retirement specialists, who clearly explain the options, risks and benefits of each option, you will be in the best position to make the right decision for your circumstances.

Here are some interesting facts and answers to some of the common questions on Income Drawdown and Annuities:

  • You cannot take your pension benefits until age 55, except in very specific circumstances (such as terminal illness, or sportsmen and sportswomen).
  • Around 60% of people who are about to retire do not shop around for the best deal, never mind look into alternative products.
  • Annuity rates are currently low and locking in for life may not be the best option. There is no longer a requirement to buy an annuity, although they will remain suitable for many.
  • Over 50% of people approaching retirement could increase their annuity income due to 'Ill Health'. Simply taking Blood Pressure and Cholesterol tablets can increase your income.
  • The income from a Drawdown policy can be up to 20% higher than an Annuity due to the legislation it comes under.
  • The death benefits whilst in Drawdown allow your spouse or estate the possibility of your fund value (minus some tax) returned as a lump sum.
  • You can remain in Drawdown indefinitely - there is now no longer a requirement to annuitise.
  • You can extend the amount of time your spouse or estate receives some of your pension policy by going into Drawdown and then buying an Annuity later on.
  • If you like the idea of Drawdown and buying an Annuity, you can do both. Why not consider buying an Annuity with some of your funds to provide a guaranteed income, and use the rest in a Drawdown to retain some flexibility.
  • If you are lucky enough not to need your Tax Free Cash, you can Phase your retirement and use your Tax Free Cash as income to provide a tax efficient beginning to your retirement (and keep the benefits of the tax free bits).

Should I take an Annuity or Income Drawdown policy?

Each option has its advantages and disadvantages. By speaking to one of our retirement specialist we will explain in simple terms the pro's and con's of each policy. The answers to the following questions will give us a good indication as to what is best for you.

  • What are your overall objectives? Income only? Tax Free Cash Only? High initial income?
  • Do you want a guaranteed income or would you like flexibility to increase now and reduce in the future?
  • Do you have any other pension benefits or savings/assets that could influence what you do?
  • Are you happy to make a decision now that you will have to live with for the rest of your life?
  • Do you want to consider your pension as part of your legacy planning?

These are only a few of the many questions that we will ask you about how you feel and what you think, in order to give the right advice and recommendations.

Once we have gathered this information we will be in a position to outline the options, risks and benefits applicable to your circumstances.


Am I eligible for an Ill Health/Enhanced Annuity?

Smoker or Enhanced Annuities only take into account a persons smoker status. A qualifying smoker (upwards of 10 manufactured cigarettes or equivalent a day) can expect to receive an enhanced rate due to smokers having a lower life expectancy.

Ill Health Annuities are based on medical conditions. Any conditions that are considered life reducing will be considered but as a rule of thumb, you will need to on at least blood pressure or cholesterol tablets to generate a small enhancement. Even then if you are of normal height and weight you may not qualify.

Any life shortening conditions could provide enhancements however, some of the main condition/lifestyle factors that generate enhancements are:-

  • Angina
  • Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Diabetes
  • Emphysema
  • Heart Attack / Heart Conditions
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Organ Replacement
  • Stroke (or T.I.A)
  • Currently smoke (an average of 10 cigarettes per day over 10 years)
  • Taking any medication