Retirement planning services
Retirement needn’t be a leap of faith – if you understand where you are today, you can start shaping your tomorrow.
If you are unsure where to begin your retirement journey, starting small and working your way up may appeal, but it is important to know what you will need in the long-term, to achieve the retirement you want.
Although the need for retirement planning may seem a long way off, and just one of life’s many priorities, the fact is we are all living much longer, on average, than previous generations. This means you are likely to spend much more of your later life in retirement.
So, getting your retirement planning off the ground and effectively managing your pension as early as possible, will give you a better chance of achieving the financial future you want.
What do I do if I have several pension pots with multiple providers?
How much money will I need in retirement?
How can I maximise my input now to achieve the retirement lifestyle I want?
What retirement/pension options do I have?
Your financial journey through to retirement is individual to you, but most people will broadly experience four stages along the way.
Each of these stages brings its own challenges and choices, and you will have your own objectives depending on which point you are at on your journey. But wherever you are, we can help you to achieve your dreams through expert retirement planning.
As the world of work changes, you could now have several different pensions that you save into during your working life: as you change employment and join a new workplace pension, or become self-employed and start your own personal pension plan. There are many different types of pensions, but they typically fall into one of two categories: Defined Contribution (DC), or Defined Benefit (DB).
DC schemes can be set up by you, or through your employer, with both of you able to contribute. The amount that you eventually have for retirement will depend on how much has been paid in, how your pension funds have performed, and any charges applied.
DB schemes are administered through an employer and are based on accruing benefits calculated on your earnings and length of membership to the scheme. They offer a guaranteed income for life, and usually the option of a tax-free cash lump sum. While less flexible, they can provide an income that will never run out. DB schemes are becoming increasingly rare, as they can be expensive to run for many employers, and so are slowly being phased out.
There is no limit on how much you can pay into your pension each year, but the total amount of contributions you can pay into your pension and claim tax relief for is limited by your Annual Allowance – currently £60,000 per tax year (or 100% of relevant earnings, if less). If you want to pay in more and still claim tax relief, you can ‘carry forward’ any unused allowance from the previous three years. The annual allowance tapers down for those with an adjusted income above £260,000 and threshold income in excess of £200,000.
Subject to certain allowances, every time you contribute to your pension, the government does too, in the form of tax relief. The tax relief you can receive depends on your income tax rate. Everyone, whether working* or not, is entitled to basic rate tax relief at 20% on pension contributions. Relief for higher rate taxpayers is 40%, and 45% if you are an additional rate taxpayer. The rates are slightly different in Scotland, due to alternate tax bands.
As your work and family life evolves, it’s worth taking a moment to make sure that your retirement plans are still on track. A change in your personal circumstances, the rise and fall of the stock markets, and economic and political changes, can all affect your future retirement funds.
When reviewing your contributions, consider: how your standard of living and expectations may have changed alongside your earnings, changes to your health, mortgages and debts, and investment volatility. Delaying or freezing pension or National Insurance contributions for a period may also have impacted your retirement goals.
You may be able to top up your pension to work towards your goals through a one-off lump sum (perhaps an annual bonus) or by raising regular contributions. Those with Defined Benefits (DB) pensions should speak to employers or an adviser to see what the scheme allows. If you have changed jobs a few times and aren’t sure what pensions have built up, you can access the government’s free Pension Tracing Service for help.
You can also request a statement from HMRC to check if you have the required 35 years of National Insurance contributions to enable you to receive the full state pension. We can also review any existing pension provisions to check if they are working as hard as they possibly can for you.
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There is a lot to consider when you access your retirement benefits. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to make all your decisions at once, and there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Choosing how to utilise your assets needs to correspond with your life goals and objectives as you move into retirement.
Options for using your pension money include drawdown, partial withdrawals (UFPLS) , total withdrawal of pension funds, and annuities (a product that provides an income that is guaranteed to be paid for the rest of your life). You may also have money in capital such as property, savings or investments.
You may want to think about a combination of retirement options, perhaps at the same time, or at different stages in your retirement as your circumstances change. Chat to a financial adviser to better understand your options.
Preparing financially for what happens when you reach a much older age, and what happens with your pensions and assets when you die, is as important as all your other financial planning. Power of Attorney documents legally ensure that a trusted person is able to make crucial decisions for your financial (or personal) wellbeing when you are no longer able to. This doesn’t replace a will, which is also essential to have in place as part of your estate planning.
The value of an investment with St. James’s Place will be directly linked to the performance of the funds you select, and the value can therefore go down as well as up. You may get back less than you invested.
The levels and bases of taxation, and reliefs from taxation, can change at any time and are generally dependent on individual circumstances.
Will writing and Powers of Attorney involve the referral to a service which is separate and distinct to those offered by St. James’s Place and are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
Any tax relief over the basic rate is claimed via your annual tax return.
*As a non earner you can contribute up to £3,600 per tax year.
Book a call with one of our experts today and take the first step towards establishing and achieving your financial goals.