Retirement Planning

Most individuals do not take this subject seriously until they are in their forties. In doing so, it can be an up hill struggle if they want to retire on time.

Nowadays a larger number of over 65s are working – perhaps by choice, but then again…

Pension Freedoms

From April 2015 pension changes now allow unrestricted access to your pension pots. Also better death benefit rules now mean you have more options and control over what happens to your fund after death. However not all pension plans are ready for these freedoms.

Some pensions and providers will facilitate these new income and death benefit options other will not and there is no obligation for them to do so. Therefore you may need to move into a different pension plan if you want to benefit from these flexibilities.

If you pass away while in an inflexible pension plan, it may mean their preferred death benefit option isn’t available. You should have an up to date expression of wish form with each pension provider, this will mean quicker payout on death and monies go to the correct person.

Care must be taken as older plans can have valuable guarantees. These could provide a higher income for life, something we all look for in later years. So advice should be taken to find out more about the plan(s) you have.

A comparison to what an annuity would provide against any pension freedom option is a wise move as some people prefer certainty , giving up their fund for a guaranteed income. While others want more control and are willing to take the risk of these flexible access and Drawdown rules.

So what suits you best?

We strongly recommend you seek advice as the new freedoms used correctly will result in a more comfortable retirement, on the other hand you could end up using up your retirement fund too quickly and pay too much tax.

Pension Review

“I left my previous employment sometime ago and have a frozen pension with them. I do not know what it is worth or how it is progressing.”

This is a common question. A question that needs to be addressed.

Without knowing what your pension could provide at your retirement you will constantly be anxious about what you might have to live on when you retire.

Review my Pension

This service collects the information from the company you worked for or your pension provider.

It sets out in easily understandable language what it is worth to you today and what it may provide you with at retirement.

Our staff go through all relevant information:

  • Type of pension
  • Performance of fund
  • Volatility of fund
  • Charges associated with the plan

We then write back to you with a full report, providing you with current and future values and recommendations with costings of alternatives you may wish to take up. The cost of this service starts at £175 per policy depending in the work involved and type of plan/scheme. We will advise you of the full cost once we have full information, all fees agreed with you first.

VAT may be applicable on this service.

Pension Review

Annual Allowance (AA)

There is no limit on the amount you can contribute to a pension scheme, but the maximum amount you can secure tax relief on is £40,000, is the general rule. For high earners this limit reduces the more you earn, so best to check the current limits and have details of all your income, including dividends and interest.

You can carry forward unused relief for three previous years, which means you can pay in more to your plan or scheme. A calculation is needed to see exactly what the highest amount could be. Then you decide, based on affordability ,tax relief or other personal circumstances if this is right thing to do. Carry forward rules allow you to maximise your contributions, by carrying forward unused relief from the three previous years, once you have used up the current tax years allowance.

Lifetime Allowance (LTA)

The lifetime allowance is the maximum value of benefits that can be taken from a registered pension scheme without being subject to the lifetime allowance charge.

  • You could have earlier applied for and obtained Individual or Fixed Protection, which would give you a higher LTA.
  • The LTA now increases each year by inflation after it was lowered in April 2016. It now increase each tax year from 2018 to move in line with inflation.

If your benefits are likely to be around £1.25 million, we recommend you see advice now to plan properly for retirement given the new flexible rules and death benefits since April 2015.


If you are about to retire you will receive information from the pension providers that informs you of the amount of income you will receive should you buy an annuity with them.

We strongly advise you to shop around and we can find the best annuity provider giving your circumstances. Our online systems can quickly quote you what is available.

Nowadays if you have a medical condition you could receive a higher income as a result of you having a potentially shorter life expectancy.

For the conservative individual an annuity is still a simple solution taking away the worry of investment performance for a fixed income for life.

SIPPs – Self Invested Personal Pensions

Rather than have a pension provider pick the stocks/ shares or any other asset class, you can, within Revenue rules place the investments you want in your Sipp. The administrator of the plan ensures you are keeping within the rules and not selecting assets that cannot be used in a pension.

SIPP providers’ costs vary greatly. Some target clients who want to buy property through their plan others offer a wide range of funds.

The costs as ever vary from provider to provider and advice is a must in this technical field.

Part of our commitment to the industry is to be up to date in the areas we specialise. The Sipp landscape has changed over the last 5 years, better value is now at hand.


You can join any type and number of pension schemes at anytime. Even if you are in your company’s pension scheme you should still be able to set up and contribute to a SIPP.