Three top tips for a healthy relationship with your pension - Brian Morman of Brunsdon Financial
For many of us, our pensions aren't something we think about often. They tend to just work their magic in the background, particularly if you're set up with auto-enrolment through your employer.
But with pensions in the spotlight recently due to the government's triple lock promise, it may have brought them back to the forefront of your mind (if only temporarily).
The landscape of pension savings has changed drastically in the last decade alone so it can be hard to keep up with where your pot is. There are a few things to consider, to ensure you'll be getting the most out of your pension.
1. Plan your retirement goals
A pension is made up of contributions which are then invested inline with your attitude to risk.
It's important to understand how much money you will need in your pot when you retire. A financial adviser can work with you to create your retirement goals. You can then set up meetings at regular intervals to check that you're on track to meet these.
A provider will be able to let you know how much you have in your pot, its current performance and forecasted growth rate.
2. Understand the type of pension you have
As the labour market in the UK has evolved, so too has the world of pensions. Workplace pensions are now broadly divided into two categories: 'defined benefit' (DB) schemes and 'defined contribution' (DC) schemes.
DB schemes are becoming increasingly rare, but offer benefits based on factors such as years of service and level of pay. It is known what will be paid out, but the amount paid in varies depending on a number of factors.
Today, the far more common type of workplace pension is a DC scheme. With these, the amount contributed by both employee and employer is set at a particular rate (usually a percentage of salary).
It's very important to understand the type of pension scheme you have, whether you have multiple pots and how payments in and out work, to ensure you're making the right decisions about your pension.
3. Consider if consolidation is right for you
It's not uncommon for employees to have more than one pension. The introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012, coupled with the fact that on average UK residents switch jobs up to 11 times in their life, means that some of us may have as many as six or seven different pensions. Like anything, there are both pros and cons to consolidating these.
Pros may include having everything in one place, making it easier to plan and check your savings, as well as potentially being offered a wider choice of investment options.
Cons may include potentially losing some guarantees linked to existing pots or missing out on benefits such as enhanced tax-free cash entitlements.
Therefore, knowing the nuances of consolidating your pensions is essential before going ahead.
Pensions and financial planning can be daunting, particularly with the ever-expanding range of choices available.
The information provided does not constitute advice or recommendation. Pension funds can fall as well as rise, irrespective of the level of risk chosen, and the value of a pension and any income generated from it cannot be guaranteed and can fall as well as rise as a result of market volatility. You may not get back the amount you originally invested.
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