Spring has come and summer is nearly here – but it is not too late for a little spring cleaning. If you have not looked at your pension plans recently, you need to do it now – and you might want some expert help.
Why do you need to check your pension?
A pension spring clean starts with sitting down and adding up your monthly expenses, to see how much you will need when you retire. Do you expect to have paid off your mortgage before you finish work? Will you want to downsize?
You will probably not need as much income when you retire if your home is paid off and the children are gone. But if you want to have enough cash to be comfortable, to run a decent car and take holidays, you need to ensure you will have enough cash coming in.
In other words, you need to see what your pension will really be worth.
It is easy to think that if you have a company pension as part of your salary package you don’t need to do anything more to prepare for your future. If you are an employee, you will automatically have a company pension plan. However, the final pension you enjoy may be less than generous.
How big is your pension pot?
So now could be the time to get some help from a Continuum pension expert. He or she will be able to work with you and your pension provider – or providers – to start getting a clear view of how things are going.
Of course, few people these days stay with a single employer for life. The average worker in Britain today will change jobs every five years, and current industry estimates suggest that there may already be £20 billion left in unclaimed pension pots. Your Continuum adviser may be able to help you track down cash that might otherwise be forgotten.
If you have a private pension, your pension provider should be sending you an annual statement that shows how much your pension is worth. Again, your Continuum adviser can help, by providing a clear and independent view of the figures, and of the different ways there may be to use the cash in your pot.
Tot up the cash that you can look forward to. Sadly, the chances are that your cash lump sum is not as large as you would like, and you will need to take some remedial action now if you are to look forward to the kind of retirement you want.
Start boosting your pension pots
Your adviser will be able to work with you to see what the shortfall might be, and how you can deal with it.
Topping up your pension pots to compensate may mean some small sacrifices now, but it could be more than worth it when the time comes to call on them. Besides, a pension could potentially be the most rewarding investment you can ever make.
If you are a basic-rate taxpayer, for every £1,000 you put into an employers or private pension the taxman adds another £250. If you pay the 40% or 45% tax rates, you can get even more through adjusting your tax coding or as a rebate from HMRC.
Small increases could mean a big difference to your final pension pot. The sooner you get money into a pension pot the more time is has to potentially grow before you retire. Even a small tweak such as an additional contribution of 2% of your annual salary could potentially add a significant amount over 10 or 15 years.
Get the help you need now
Looking at your pension plans can be daunting, and you need with expert help to deal with all the questions, and make sure your pension savings are working as hard as they possibly can.
At Continuum we will not only provide the help you need for your pension spring clean; we can set up a personal pension plan to ensure your financial future looks brighter.
So whatever stage of your pension journey you are on, getting our help could be a very good idea.
The information contained in this article is based on the opinion of Continuum and does not constitute financial advice or a recommendation to suitable investment strategy, you should seek independent financial advice before embarking on any course of action..
The value of your pension and investments, and the income they produce, can fall as well as rise and you may get back less than you invested.
Levels and basis of reliefs from taxation are subject to change and depend upon your personal circumstances.