The reasons we conduct reviews for our clients are highlighted below. If you are not a client of ours already, the following questions may help you to decide whether you should get us to review your own pension plans.
- Am I paying too much in charges?
- Is the level of risk in my pension funds right for me?
- Do my plans reflect my current circumstances?
- Am I getting the maximum tax breaks?
- Do I know how my past and current pensions all work?>
- How impressed am I with my provider’s service?
- Am I on track for the retirement income I want?
There are essentially two reasons we are committed to ongoing reviews for our clients: to take account of changes in their own circumstances and aims, and, to ensure that any market developments are assessed.
Changing circumstances, aims and needs
We all go through changes in life and what was right at one time may no longer be suitable at a later date. Changes in our work, home life and health can all have a bearing. By keeping your pension in focus and conducting regular reviews, we aim to keep your pension planning on track, whatever the changes.
One of the most common issues is keeping under review how much you save into your pension. It is often the case that when starting out, it is not possible to pay in as much as we would ideally like (to get back the level of pension we want). As time goes on, affordability may change and often this relates to higher earnings out-pacing changes in outgoings, allowing more to be paid in.
It is important to keep in mind that if your earnings are growing, your target retirement income may also be going up (when compared to the initial target set when you started your pension savings). So, it is vital that your target income is kept under review, and, that what you pay in regularly is kept up to date.
There may also be occasional ‘windfalls’, such as bonuses and inheritances, which may allow a catch up to be done by injecting extra savings into your pension as lump sums. These lump sum payments get the same tax breaks as regular savings, so they are an excellent way to boost your pension savings.
How your pension savings are invested has a massive affect on the value of your funds or total ‘pot’. We will have guided you at the outset to match your investments to your attitude to risk and objectives. Over time, these may change. For example, when approaching retirement, many people favour reducing the risk exposure in their pension savings. This reduces the potential investment returns, but, it means the value of the underlying funds is more stable, so giving more certainty in the run-up to retirement.
When starting out with your pension savings, the joy of actually taking the benefits may seem a long way off. For the smart ones who get underway early, it truly can be a very long time. But, as time goes on, preparing for retirement will become a bigger and bigger priority. And, the goal posts can sometimes move or need to be moved…
For example, state pension ages are rising (moving the goal posts) and for many of us, working lifetimes are getting longer by necessity. There are also more flexible solutions than used to apply, so, retirement no longer needs to be seen as single event in time – you may prefer to retire gradually.
By conducting regular reviews with our clients, we make sure that any changing needs or plans for how and when you want to take your pension benefits are taken into account.
Changes in legislation and product innovations can bring fresh benefits to new pension savers. Through our commitment to ongoing reviews for our clients, we make sure that any such benefits are also known and made available on an ongoing basis.
Over recent years, the changes in legislation have included major changes in tax relief and pension structures. These changes have generally speaking been welcome and have extended choice when saving and when taking benefits.
Product providers strive to continuously improve and the UK pensions marketplace is very competitive. Again, by doing regular reviews for our clients, we can ensure that new developments are considered and utilised where appropriate.