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This is simply an assessment of your current pension arrangements. The firm offering to undertake the review will assess (amongst other things) the charging structure of your plan(s), the investment options available within your plan and contribution levels. They should also assess if you are on track to achieve your retirement goals and highlight your “at retirement” options offered by your current arrangement(s)/provider(s). They should also talk to you about the level of investment risk that you are willing and able to take and tell you if consolidating a number of plans into one arrangement is in your best interest.

Just as important it allows you to review the firm and their practises to determine if they are a good fit for you.

It is important that you make sure that you are dealing with a firm and an adviser regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
This is when you leave your pension invested and draw an income, tax free sum or a combination of both from a pension fund, also known as “Flexi-access drawdown”. You can start to do this when you attain age 55 and not (usually) before.

You can take up to 25% as a tax free lump sum (in some limited circumstances the tax free sum can exceed 25%). Anything that you take above this amount is likely to be taxed at your highest marginal rate.

Your approach to withdrawing from a “Flexi-access drawdown” is up to you. Did you know:

You can take the tax free sum as a stand alone withdrawal
You can withdraw the full value of your accrued fund
Take ad hoc withdrawals
Take regular income (monthly, quarterly, annually etc)

Things to be wary of:

Taking the full fund and overpaying income tax
Becoming subject to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA)
Taking unsustainable withdrawals and running out of money in retirement
Choosing the wrong investment strategy

Pension drawdown gives you complete control over how and when you access your pension benefits but it isn’t suitable for everyone.

We recommend that you take regulated financial advice. The Financial Conduct Authority register lists regulated firms and advisers in your area.
Generally speaking, yes, from age 55. However, pensions are designed to support you throughout retirement and withdrawals in excess of the tax free element (usually 25% of the fund) are liable for income tax at your marginal rate. If you take all of your pension in one go it’s likely that you will pay a heavy tax charge, some of which you might not be able to reclaim. Although it might sound appealing and you are happy to pay the tax, you need to consider the potential risk of running out of money in retirement.

We recommend that you take regulated financial advice. The Financial Conduct Authority register lists regulated firms and advisers in your area.
The amount you can take depends on the type of pension that you have. Defined benefit or final salary occupational pension schemes will offer a pension and lump sum that is determined by a number of things such as your length of service, salary and the scheme rules. Defined contribution schemes like personal pensions offer a range of options. This can be as extreme as withdrawing the whole of the pension fund in one go (and suffering the tax consequences) to buying a guaranteed income for life (an annuity)or taking a sustainable income from a pension in drawdown.
An annuity is simply a guaranteed income (usually) payable for life. The income can be level or increase each year and include a spouse and/or dependents pensions. Buying an annuity is a “one off” decision that can’t usually be changed once you have made it so it’s important that you make the right decision at outset.

We recommend that you take regulated financial advice. The Financial Conduct Authority register lists regulated firms and advisers in your area.
SERPS - State Earnings Related Pension Scheme. This was a “top up” to the basic state pension and individuals could choose to opt out and invest their contributions into a personal pension arrangement usually referred to as a “contracted out” benefit.

You can take benefits from your “contracted out” plan in exactly the same way as any other personal pension arrangement - from age 55 onwards.
Absolutely, we’ll need as much information about your old scheme as possible i.e. who it was with, who you worked for and when and any paperwork that you have would be really helpful. If you’re struggling to remember it might be worth talking to some of your ex colleagues if you’re still in touch with them to find out what they know.
This is the money you can take out of your pension without paying tax (tax free). The maximum amount is usually 25% of the value of the fund although in some instances it can be higher (or lower). Tax free cash doesn’t have to be taken all at once. We would suggest contacting an authorised financial adviser before taking benefits from your pension. The Financial Conduct Authority register lists regulated firms and advisers in your area.
MPAA is the Money Purchase Annual Allowance, it is a restriction on the amount you can pay into your pension each year and still receive tax relief if you have accessed pension income flexibly.

If you have accessed income flexibly from your pension the current maximum you can contribute and still receive tax relief is £4,000. You will not trigger the MPAA if you only take tax free cash.
Pension contributions can be made by an adult in their own right from age 18, but parents, grandparents (and other relatives) can contribute to a pension on behalf of a child from birth.
You can contribute up to 100% of your earnings each year up to a maximum of £40,000. If you earn more than £40,000 and have unused contributions from previous tax years you may be eligible to contribute higher levels.

Company’s can contribute up to £40,000 each year on behalf of employees without reference to their level of earnings.
Usually tax relief on pension contributions is given at source, this simply means that you make the contribution and the pension provider claims the tax relief on your behalf.

It’s different for higher and additional rate taxpayers, basic rate relief is claimed as described above but for any additional tax relief you will need to contact HMRC.
Usually yes, although it's best to check to make sure that you are not giving up valuable guarantees. If in doubt, take advice.
That depends on the type of pension that you have. Generally, defined benefit or final salary occupational pensions will provide spouse and dependents pensions and possibly a lump sum. Defined contribution schemes (personal pensions, stakeholder pensions etc)usually pay out the full fund value to your nominated beneficiary.
That depends on the type of pension that you have. Generally, defined benefit or final salary occupational pensions will provide spouse and dependents pensions and possibly a lump sum. ‘Drawdown’ schemes usually will pay out the full fund value to your nominated beneficiary or allow your nominated beneficiary to continue taking benefits from the .
Typically you will pay tax on your pension income at your nominal rate. Effectively the income received from your pension is added to any other income received and then taxed appropriately. You may not pay tax if the total income received is less than the personal allowance (currently £12,570 2021/22).
Yes, your state pension is calculated on the amount of National Insurance contributions you have made during your working life therefore your private pensions do not affect your entitlement to state pension.
The state pension age for both men and women is currently 66, however this is due to increase to 67 between 2026 and 2028 and further increase to age 68 between 2044 and 2046.
You can request your state pension forecast from the Gov.Uk website or over the phone for free on 0800 7310175. The forecast is based on your current National Insurance record and assumes future years count towards your state pension.
To get a full state pension you will need 35 qualifying years. To get any state pension you will need to have 10 qualifying years.
When you are working you pay National Insurance and get a qualifying year if:
- You’re employed and earning over £184 a week from 1 employer
- You’re self-employed and paying National Insurance contributions.
You might not pay National Insurance contributions because you’re earning less than £184 a week. You may still get a qualifying year if you earn between £120 and £184 a week from one employer.

You may be entitled to National Insurance credits if you cannot work, for example because of illness, disability or if you are a carer or you are unemployed and in receipt of certain benefits.
If you have gaps in your National Insurance record, you may be able to pay voluntary class 3 NIC’s to fill them and increase your state pension entitlement. Normally you must make the top-up payment within 6 years of missing the original payment however individuals reaching state pension age on or after 06/04/2016 have until 05/04/2023 to pay any gaps from 2006/07 to 2015/16 tax years.
State pension income is taxable but is usually paid without any tax deducted as it is within most people’s personal allowance. You no longer have to pay national insurance contributions once you have reached state pension age.