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A Guide to Pension Wise

Written by Retirement Line

Last Updated: 7th December 2023

How can Pension Wise help you make a decision about your retirement income?

Pension Wise is the government-backed pension guidance service. If you are nearing retirement with one or more personal or workplace pension pots, you may already be familiar with their free service.  

Whilst Retirement Line offers a full annuity information, guidance and arrangement service, we actively encourage our customers to also talk to Pension Wise about their options. This will help you to make a confident decision about your retirement finances.

What does Pension Wise do?

Pension Wise offers free impartial guidance to over-50s about your options for taking money from any UK-based ‘defined contribution’ pension schemes that you have saved into. These are also known as 'money purchase' schemes. 

The guidance from Pension Wise is given to you by these independent organisations:

  • Money and Pensions Service

  • The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux

  • The Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux

These providers of the Pension Wise service offer information and guidance about how each option for accessing your pension savings works. They’ll also explain how each option is taxed, which could be important in helping you make an informed decision about your retirement income.

Preparing for your Pension Wise appointment

If you are aged over 50 and have a defined contribution pension pot, you can get a free 60-minute Pension Wise appointment. It doesn’t matter how big or small your pension savings are.

So if you plan to book an appointment with Pension Wise, what might you need to know in advance? There are a number of things you can prepare and collate to help get the most out of your appointment:

  • Check your scheme. As Pension Wise can only provide guidance on defined-contribution schemes, they cannot help you if you only have defined-benefit pension schemes. Check your policy paperwork to see what type of pension scheme you have before your call.

  • Keep your wake-up pack. This is normally sent to you by your existing pension provider/s around 4 to 6 months before you reach the age you said you intend to retire. If you have yours, keep it safe ready for any pension appointments you have.

  • Make sure you have up-to-date pension statements. You will need one of these for each pension scheme you have. It’s especially important that you know the value of each pension pot.

  • Check if you have any special features or penalties. Information about these, such as a guaranteed annuity rate, can be found in your pension paperwork. 

Questions to consider before your appointment

You may want to consider your answers to the following questions to give your Pension Wise specialist a clearer understanding of your wants and needs for your retirement:

  • How much cash do you want to take from your fund now or in the future?

  • Do you want a secure lifetime income without any investment risk?

  • Are you happy for your future income to depend on uncertain investment returns?

  • Do you want an increasing future income to combat inflation?

  • Will your spouse, partner, children or other dependents need an income on your death?

  • Will you continue in part time work after you retire?

You may also want to ask the following questions during your appointment to ensure you cover as much as possible during your time with them:

  • What impact does tax have on my pension withdrawals?

  • How long does it take to set up my pension income?

  • Should I consolidate several pension funds together to create one easy-to-manage pot?

  • Can I continue to pay into a pension after accessing my pension savings?

During your Pension Wise appointment 

During your one-hour appointment with Pension Wise, your pension specialist will discuss what you should think about when considering your retirement income choices. 

For example, do you have any plans to continue working when you begin receiving your retirement income? Do you have anybody that you want to continue providing financial support for when you pass away? 

They’ll also discuss your personal and financial circumstances and explain all the payment options available, together with how they relate to your circumstances.

In addition, you’ll learn about the tax implications of accessing your pension, things to check for before making any decisions, how to protect yourself from scams and your next steps.

Next steps

Guidance from Pension Wise is available during a face-to-face or telephone appointment that you have to book in advance. You can book your appointment online via the MoneyHelper website, or you can call 0800 138 3944 between 8.00am and 6.30pm, Monday to Friday.

If you want to look further into whether an annuity is a viable option for taking your retirement income, Retirement Line is also here to help. As the UK’s largest pension annuity broker*, we offer a full annuity service. We can provide you with annuity quotes from leading providers, help you compare annuity rates, and help to arrange your retirement income for you if you decide to proceed and buy an annuity through ourselves

To speak to an annuity specialist call the Retirement Line team today on 01733 973038 or request a free call back here. 

Call now and talk to an Annuity Specialist about how we can boost your annuity income in retirement

0800 652 1316

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