Everywhere you look there’s someone trying to give you pension advice. Your bank, your accountant, your mum… How do you know who you should be listening to?
“I’ll be 80 by the time I get to retire!”
How many of you have uttered something similar, with a wry smile and a shrug? It may have been a bit of a running joke in your early twenties but now it doesn’t seem so funny. You know that unless you get serious about your pension planning, there may be more than a grain of truth to it.
You’re beginning to worry that all of the cash you’ve sacrificed to your pension pot over the years isn’t working hard enough for you and you’re not sure where to start when it comes to seeking reliable pension advice.
There’s no shortage of options: your bank sends you plenty of emails on the subject, your accountant has mentioned it more than once and your parents have been on at you for years to review your plan now that you’re getting older. Even your friends have started to talk pensions!
Everyone has an opinion, but should you listen to any of them?
It’s natural to seek advice from those you trust in the first instance. You know that your parents and your friends won’t have any ulterior motives, or any products to sell. But the financial landscape has changed significantly since your folks were your age and their advice, however well-meant, doesn’t always feel entirely relevant. Your friends’ information may be more up-to-date but there’s no guarantee that what works for them pension-wise will work for you.
Who can I ask for help with my pension?
Clearly what you need is guidance from more qualified sources and here you have a range of options:
- your bank
- your accountant
- pension plan service providers
- financial advisers
Financial advisers — the experts’ recommendation
Experts such as Martin Lewis from Money Saving Expert, PensionWise and the Pension
Advisory Scheme all recommend turning to a financial adviser for the most comprehensive and trustworthy advice.
However, they’re quick to point out that not all financial advisers are created equal. While all financial advisers are required to be fully qualified with a high level of expertise, some are restricted in what they can offer their clients. Restrictions might apply to the range of products they work with, the providers they recommend or both.
For wider, whole of market access, it’s worth finding a reputable independent financial adviser – an ‘IFA’. An IFA will discuss your current pension savings and investments and check that these align with your retirement goals and your feelings on risk-taking. Then they’ll have the info they need to recommend the most suitable pension products or investments for your situation. And because they aren’t linked to any specific provider or restricted in any way, you know that you’ll be getting impartial advice and access to the most appropriate options.
How do I find an IFA?
A financial adviser MUST tell you whether they’re independent or restricted so don’t be afraid to ask and be sure to check that your chosen adviser is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
An IFA isn’t necessarily the cheapest option but neither should it break the bank and when it comes to securing your future finances, professional advice is worth every penny. Plus, when you find the right IFA, you’ll develop a long-lasting relationship so you know that whatever changes life throws your way. Whether it’s a new job, new career path or new financial responsibilities, you can trust your IFA to help you to keep your pension plans on track. You might just be able to retire before you hit 80 after all!