The very best way to have your questions answered is by speaking to one of our experienced independent financial planners. However, you can read answers to some of our most commonly asked questions here.
Should I join my employer pension scheme?
For almost everybody, the answer is yes. Pensions are a great way to save towards your eventual retirement and most employer pension schemes include company contributions which will help boost your retirement savings.
Please note that there are exceptions: some people with very large pension schemes may have certain types of tax protection that could be lost by making contributions to a pension scheme. If in doubt give us a call first.
How much can I pay into a pension?
The rules around pension contributions are very generous. You can pay in up to 100% of your employed or self-employed earnings and your employer can pay in too. There’s an overall limit, which is currently £40,000 a year for most people – although people with very high earnings may have a lower limit.
While generous, the rules around contributions can still be complex, so please contact us before making significant contributions.
When can I draw my pension?
Current rules allow for people to take their pension from age 55 but although many of us may be in a rush to retire as soon as possible, it’s important to bear in mind that your pension is intended to last the rest of your life. Drawing your pension at 55 might not be the best idea if this means you run out of money in your seventies.
Deciding when and how to draw a retirement income can be complex and very much depends on individual circumstances. We therefore strongly advice talking your options through with a trusted independent financial adviser before making any decisions.
What happens to my pension if I die?
This depends on the type of pension you have.
Currently, if you have a pension with a fund like a Group Pension Plan, SIPP or you’re in Drawdown then the whole of the pension fund will most likely pass to your named beneficiaries. However, if you’re in a Final Salary type pension scheme or have retired and you are in receipt of an Annuity, then your spouse might receive a widow(er)’s pension and younger children might get a dependents pension.
Do I need a will?
Even those of us with fairly simple affairs would benefit from a will and with modern families becoming ever more complex it is more important than ever to have a will. Bear in mind that if you have a partner but you are unmarried then, without a will, your partner will not automatically inherit anything. They may also lose out on occupational benefits such as ‘Death in Service’ life assurance benefits.
Do I need an emergency fund?
Yes – regardless of your wealth you should try to always have an emergency fund. While an extreme example, the Coronavirus lockdown showed how many of us are financially vulnerable to matters way beyond our control. You should aim to have three to six months expenditure set aside as a cash reserve (in instant access, short-dated deposit or National Savings).
How much can I pay into an ISA?
The rules around ISA contributions are very generous. Under current rules, you can pay in up to £20,000 per tax year, tax free.
*Note: – Some types of ISAs have lower contribution limits so please contact us before making an ISA contribution
Aren’t investments risky?
Often, yes – most investments carry the risk of capital loss but they typically also offer better potential returns than savings accounts. It’s because of those potentially higher returns that many people use investments to help maximise their wealth and achieve their financial goals.
It’s important to understand the risks associated with any investment. Please contact us for advice before making a decision on whether to invest or not.
Please note investments may rise and fall and you may not get back what you put in. It’s also important to note that past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.
Are savings safe?
Yes and no. UK bank and building society accounts are generally regarded as safe as they should be protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme up to a certain limit*.
However, there are other risks that you might not be aware of, such as inflation eroding the real value of your savings. We’d prefer to describe savings as being ‘certain’ rather than ‘safe’. There is a difference!
*If you are unsure whether or not your savings are protected, please give us a call to discuss.
Should I put my life assurance policy under trust?
Yes – It’s normally best to place protection policies under trust as this can save tax and help ensure that the benefits are available without unnecessary delay such as probate.
Please contact us if you’d like to review your existing protection policies and any trust arrangements.
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