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Pension Advice to Rely On

Jul 21, 2008
Good, reliable pension advice needs to be impartial and independent, extremely well-informed and designed with only your own best interests in mind. The best way to secure just that advice is through the services of an independent financial adviser specialising in pensions planning.

The pensions market in the UK has grown incredibly sophisticated and complex, with very many different financial products to help individuals both to save for their retirement years and also to ensure that those savings are working the hardest for them. An independent financial adviser will be able to guide you around the bewildering array of pension products currently available, whether you are looking for suitable investments in which to build up your pension fund whilst still at work or for the different ways in which that fund can be used during your retirement.

Building the pension fund

Whilst you are working, you will be eager to build up a fund that provides for your retirement through a tax-efficient savings and investment scheme. That is the easy decision; the difficulty lies in deciding just how to do it! The choice will be between a stakeholder pension (probably the most popular low-charge pension, which can be purchased from a commercial financial services institution, such as an insurance company, a bank or a building society) or a personal pension (an individual contract with a pension provider to which you and, possibly your employer, contribute and which you can take with you from one job to another).

But that is not the only choice. You might want the flexibility and personal control over your pension investments given to you by a Self-Invested Personal Pension (SIPP); you might want advice about the company pension scheme of which you are already a member, or, if you are a director, senior executive or own your own business, you could use advice about an executive pension scheme. An independent financial adviser will be able to guide you through all of these options and help you arrive at the one that is best for you, together, of course, with any advice about transferring your existing pension plan to another.

Making the most of your pension fund

Once you have retired, the need for advice does not stop there. You worked hard enough to accumulate the funds, so the least you will want is the peace of mind that you are making the most of the benefits it can bring you.

Most people, for example, will be looking to convert the final value of their pension scheme into a regular, monthly income. But there is a wide variation in the performance of pension annuities and independent professional advice will help you secure the best value in your choice, say, between a standard annuity and a guaranteed annuity. If you are married, you might also want to ensure that your spouse benefits from your pension savings and will, therefore, seek advice on the best value widow's pension scheme. Alternatively, it might be that you do not yet want to touch the whole of your accumulated pension fund, but are interested in a partial drawdown of the investment. On all of these many and complex options, the independent financial adviser is there to help.
About the Author
Sean Horton is a Director of Enhanced Wealth, a whole of market mortgage broker and IFA specialising in mortgage advice and the associated areas of pension advice, income protection, mortgage protection, and life cover.
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