5 important things to check this Pension Awareness Day

Category: News
A person taking notes while looking at a phone screen.

If you’re guilty of ignoring your pension, a review ahead of Pension Awareness Day on 15 September can help make sure you’re on track for the retirement you want.

Here are five important things to check.

1. How is your pension invested?

The money held in your pension is usually invested.

This provides an opportunity for your savings to grow over your working life. Over the decades you’ll be saving, investing your pension contributions can really add up. It means you could look forward to a more comfortable retirement.

So, understanding how your pension is invested and how well it’s performing is important.

If you haven’t selected how your pension is invested, it will usually be through your provider’s default fund.

Many providers offer a selection of funds for you to choose from. The funds will have different risk profiles and criteria. Going through the different options with your goals in mind is useful, and we’re here to answer any questions you may have.

When reviewing investment performance, keep in mind that you should focus on the long-term outcomes, rather than short-term fluctuations.

2. Are you claiming all the tax relief you’re entitled to?

When you contribute to a pension, you can often claim tax relief. This means some of the tax you would have paid is added to your retirement savings. It can deliver a valuable boost to your pension.

Assuming your contributions are below the Annual Allowance, you can claim tax relief at the highest rate of Income Tax you pay.

Your pension provider will often collect tax relief at the basic rate of 20% automatically. However, you should check this is being added to your contributions.

If you’re a higher- or additional-rate taxpayer, you will usually need to complete a self-assessment tax form to claim the full amount of tax relief you’re entitled to.

3. When is your retirement date?

Often, pension providers will change how your savings are invested as you near your retirement date. This will usually mean taking less risk to reduce the chance of volatility affecting your retirement plans.

As a result, you should check when your retirement date is set for. This is often linked to the State Pension Age, however, you may plan to retire sooner or later than this.

In addition, changing your investment strategy may not be right for you as you near retirement. For example, if you plan to use other assets to fund your lifestyle initially, you may want to maintain your current risk profile for longer.

4. What income is your pension projected to deliver in retirement?

While you may know how much is going into your pension each month, it can be difficult to understand what this will mean for your retirement income. This is particularly true if the money is invested.

If you have a defined benefit (DB) pension, you will know what income it will deliver and when. This is normally dependent on how long you’ve been a member of the scheme and your salary.

However, if you have a defined contribution (DC) pension, you will need to factor in how the value of your pension could change during your working life. Your pension provider will give a projected value, but keep in mind this isn’t guaranteed.

You will also need to consider how you’ll use your pension to create an income for the rest of your life, assessing things like life expectancy and one-off costs.

Calculating the projected income of your pension now means you can make adjustments if you could face a shortfall. If you’re not sure where to start or have questions about your retirement income, we’re here to help.

5. Are you maximising contributions from your employer?

If you’re employed, your employer will usually be contributing to your pension on your behalf.

Under auto-enrolment rules, they must contribute a minimum of 3% of your pensionable earnings. However, some employers may contribute more as a perk, so it’s worth checking if you’re maximising what’s on offer.

Your employer may increase their contributions in line with yours, for instance. While this would mean you need to contribute more to your pension, it also boosts how much “free money” is being added to your retirement savings too. As these additional contributions are typically invested, they can deliver a significant boost to your pension over the long term.

Checking your employee handbook or speaking to your employer can highlight how you could maximise employer pension contributions.

Contact us for a full pension review

Getting to grips with your pension is essential for reaching retirement goals. If you have questions about your pension or how it could create an income in retirement, we can answer them and carry out a review that you can have confidence in.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

A pension is a long-term investment not normally accessible until 55 (57 from April 2028). The value of your investments (and any income from them) can go down as well as up, which would have an impact on the level of pension benefits available.

Your pension income could also be affected by the interest rates at the time you take your benefits. The tax implications of pension withdrawals will be based on your individual circumstances. Levels, bases of and reliefs from taxation may change in subsequent Finance Acts.

What our clients say

Having dealt with various financial advisers in the past, both Gary and Kate give a far more personal service and explain things clearly. They take the time to understand what we want from financial planning and they have the knowledge to advise us in a variety of different aspects. Although we have only been clients from just before retirement, I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone of any age and we have absolutely no regrets in switching to Lifeplan.

Colin, Nottingham

A client since 2016

On my first visit to Lifeplan several years ago, Gary took lots of time to get to know my background, my financial objectives and me. There was never any sales push or persuasion to get my business. We’ve always discussed issues; Lifeplan give me options and I decide what to do. I don’t feel any pressure to do anything that I’m not comfortable with. I feel as though we have a personal relationship, rather than just being another business transaction. That's why I’m happy with Lifeplan’s guidance with my life savings.

Anthony, Northumberland

A client since 2014

We have been with Lifeplan for a few years now. Kate has been brilliant in helping us understand our level of risk and planning for retirement. Before we spoke to Kate, it was always something we would just say we’d get around to at some point! It’s really important to have a plan and I feel more secure about our finances now.

Kate, Gateshead

A client since 2015

I initially approached Lifeplan as my parents had used them in the past. I received excellent financial planning advice, and as I am still quite young and newly-qualified, this was invaluable. I also approached Lifeplan to help me find a suitable mortgage and again they were fantastic. They took a lot of pressure off me by dealing with lenders as well as solicitors. First class!

Jamie, Northumberland

A client since 2017

I would recommend Lifeplan to anyone, as they provide an excellent and honest service.

Philip, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A client since 2016

Initially we were unsure about contacting Lifeplan, as we were wary that any advice given may not be impartial or even to our benefit. We needn't have worried as we now have every confidence in the planning, investments as well as the will and trust Lifeplan helped us with. It is a great relief knowing we can trust the people dealing with our finances. We are always kept fully up to date and have annual meetings where everything is explained in clear and concise ways.

June, Northumberland

A client since 2016

I have more in my pot now than when I retired 11 years ago, even though I joined at the beginning of the banking crisis.”

Derek, Consett

A client since 2011

I have had nothing but the best advice from Kate Boon over the last 12 years, in relation to mortgages, investments and financial planning for later life. She’s always down to earth in her approach, but very knowledgeable and a real professional.

Irene, Hexham

A client since 2012

In the five years that Lifeplan has looked after our investments, we have received an excellent, friendly, professional service, which has given us very satisfactory returns on our savings.

Pauline, Lanchester

A client since 2011

Our family has worked with Gary and Kate for many years and have built up a good trusting working relationship with this professional, efficient and caring company. We feel that they always consider our specific financial needs and provide advice accordingly. We definitely feel we are in safe hands with Lifeplan.

Julie, Consett

A client since 2010

As retirement approached, I was uncertain how to proceed. Advice from Lifeplan set us on the right track and we are now enjoying a very comfortable lifestyle. Good advice was provided regarding our wills and Powers of Attorney. We appreciate the guidance given and feel happy and secure in our retirement.

Albion, Tyne and Wear

A client since 2015

Lifeplan is an approachable and plain-speaking business. They are always there to help and assist, as well as provide annual reviews of my current finances and what can be changed to benefit me in readiness for retirement.

Ian, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A client since 2011

Kate is my financial consultant and has put a lot of work into my investments recently, making it very clear how it has been invested and where. This appears to be honest, up-to-date advice from someone who clearly knows the markets. I receive a pleasant, friendly service, in a nice modern office also.

Andrew, Hexham

A client since 2015

Lifeplan provides a friendly, professional service at reasonable cost. They are very responsive to any request I make and keep my portfolio of investments in line with my ongoing requirements. In 12 years of using Lifeplan, I have never had cause for concern.

Rob, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A client since 2006

Gary and Kate have been excellent in understanding our needs and requirements and have given first class advice. They have helped with our financial planning and setting up a trust to ensure our wishes for the future will be met. Nothing is too much bother for them and they provide an excellent service. My wife and I would happily recommend them.

John, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A client since 2014

When I retired, I wanted my capital to work for me. I was looking for a reasonable but realistic return on investment, but without a high risk. Lifeplan have provided me with just that. I have an annual review, where we have a frank discussion about current arrangements and any changes that Lifeplan may recommend. There is no jargon and things are explained in an understandable way. Plus, they are thoroughly nice people.

Harry, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A client since 2015

I found Gary and Kate very easy to speak to. They listen to your concerns and wishes, then give you the best options on how to invest moving forward. Their choices are always explained to you in understandable terms.

Edward, Hexham

A client since 2014

We have always been given helpful advice in a most professional manner. Every detail was explained fully in a way that was easily understood. We would have no problem in recommending Lifeplan to anyone wishing to invest.

Lisa, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A client since 2011

I'd tried several advisers prior to being introduced to Gary and was not happy with their service. Gary was instrumental in organising our pension information, so that we could understand what we were paying in to and why. Sounds easy, but we have had three previous advisers from some of the largest banks that could not do this. Since meeting Gary, we have successfully transferred our pension fund and original property in to a new scheme. In addition to this, Gary has successfully helped our company purchase a new property through our pension.

Bruce, Tyne and Wear

A client since 2013

Gary sorted out my pension by tailoring it to my own specific requirements. Until then, it was with large organisations and I really felt out of control with it. He explained technical financial terms well and I felt that he was not happy until he knew I fully understood all aspects of the business. There was no pressure from him and I always felt very confident that he was doing the best he could do on my behalf. He is fully qualified, takes pride in his job and in my opinion is impeccably trustworthy. His team is also very efficient, keeping me advised on all aspects of our business.

Henry, County Durham

A client since 2009

I was looking for financial planning and not just financial advice. Gary explained options in an easily understandable way and offered an alternative way of looking at the impact on different financial models. Initial advice was exactly what I wanted, and I am satisfied that the options I have now chosen are based on sound advice. I have decided to become a long-term client. What myself and my wife wanted was someone whom we felt we could trust with giving impartial advice on our future financial situation, and this we feel we have achieved with Gary

Colin, Nottingham

A client since 2016

I was recently widowed and wanted to simplify my financial affairs for my children should anything happen to me. Gary was very understanding of my needs and dealt with me patiently and in a simple way. I believe the products he recommended will benefit me.

H Walker, Newcastle Upon Tyne

A client since 2016

I contacted Kate to review my pension arrangements, with a view to changing my then pension provider. She helped and advised me on what I currently had, and helped find something better for my current and future needs. Obviously, it’s too early to say, but Kate clearly explained and showed me on the software what my pension could be like when it comes to retirement under various scenarios.

Richard, County Durham

A client since 2008

Redundancy required a re-think of my finances and future planning. Gary set up an investment portfolio following a detailed discussion, including provision of advice that met our needs. I am very pleased with the overall return over the last six years, balanced against the level of risk we were prepared to take.

Brian, County Durham

A client since 2012

Gary has developed a structured plan to ensure our funds will last in retirement. We are now deciding when to retire or reduce to part-time employment.

K Walker, County Durham

A client since 2010

We made an appointment to discuss the remortgage of properties. Kate understood our requirements and personally sorted the process in a very professional way from the start to a successful conclusion. She dealt with all matters, no matter how small.

Jim, County Durham

A client since 2016

Subscribe to our newsletter

Enter your details below to receive updates from the team straight to your inbox.

    [anr_nocaptcha g-recaptcha-response]
    Please read our Privacy Policy.

    Find us

    Office 91, Derwentside Business Centre, Viewpoint,
    Consett, Co. Durham, DH8 6BN

    Get in touch

    Complete the form below and a member of the team will be in touch.

      Please read our Privacy Policy. [anr_nocaptcha g-recaptcha-response]