The new government ‘pension freedoms’ reforms have come into effect from 6th April, 2015, giving those with a pension much more freedom and flexibility in accessing their retirement savings.

Sam Henderson, Chartered Financial Planner and Director of Henderson Stone & Co Ltd comments,

“The new pension freedoms are a massive step forward, revolutionising pensions by giving greater flexibility and individual choice to long term savers and will act to motivate and encourage people to save for their retirement.

Anyone over the age of 55 can now access their pension pots whenver they want, not just the tax free 25% element but also the remaining fund, though it is liable to income tax at your marginal rate. This could therefore be used as a once off payment or as income on a regular basis. Further, should you die before the age of 75 the full fund can be paid to your beneficiaries without tax. Indeed, the pension fund can be passed from generation to generation and used to provide cash, until it runs out.”

However, Sam adds “There are potential risks involved, such as achieving poor or negative returns on your investments (especially in the early days of drawing down funds), and the effect of inflation on your income needs. Savers should also be on their guard against pension scams where savers are enticed to invest their pension pots in high risk and unregulated investments. Most importantly, savers might not realise the full tax implications of drawing part or all of their pension pots, or they might not realise the impact on State Benefits (including long term care) of drawing their fund.

Whilst guidance and information is available from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB), The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS), and the Money Advice Service you should also consider seeking full financial advice from a fully qualified financial adviser authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

By understanding the new pension freedoms and applying them to suit your own circumstances there are many benefits to be realised through these new laws.”

For more information go to our at ‘at retirement page’

If you have any questions or would like to discuss the new pension changes and how they may affect you, call 0141 352 7800 and ask to speak with one of our advisers. An initial no-obligation meeting is always at our expense.

If you take your entire pension fund early you could be financially worse off in the future.