Should I get pension advice? – Pensionfinder
Getting pension advice is advisable for most people. A pension is likely one of the biggest purchasing decisions you will ever make. Making regular monthly payments that go into a pot, that you will not see until retirement age, takes some faith in the investment funds and in the financial system itself. You need to make sure that you are making contributions to a fund that reflects your philosophy on investment and gives you peace of mind. The scheme should also allow the flexibility you need to do what you want to do.
Where you put your money can have a dramatic effect on how much your pension pot is worth at retirement. Differences between average annual growth rates of 3%, 5%, 7% and 9% are compound and not linear, and the growth rate therefore has a huge effect on your income at retirement. The growth rate your funds will perform at will be dependent on a number of factors, including management fees, and market performance. It tends to be the more volatile markets that enable the best performance during boom times, and on the flip-side the worst losses. Your investment portfolio should represent your attitude to risk, and your point in the investment journey. If you are willing to suffer the losses for the chance of the big gains, and are early in your career it might be that you want an adventureous portfolio. If you are nearing retirement it is likely that you will be more focused on maintaining what you have got, and will avoid the more volatile investments. A financial advisor will be able to help you understand your attitude to risk and guide you on the best blend of investments to put in your pension.
Pensions also vary in their charging structures, this is another reason that the right pension for one person, or group of people, is not necessarily the right one for another. Charges should be explained to you when you get pension advice.
When giving pension advice your financial advisor will also be able to make sure that a pension is the right investment vehicle for you. For many an ISA, with the ability to drawdown the investment anytime, might be a more appropriate option. This can be particularly true for people who have a period of uncertainty on the horizon and should not really be committing to a large monthly payment that they cannot then get at. Additionally, it might be a better idea to take an ISA if you are paying basic rate tax and will in the future be moving to higher rate. Your financial advisor can take a holistic approach to your finances to judge the relative merits of an ISA or a pension in your situation.
Your advisor may even suggest that you focus your investment in your business, or look into Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs). Indeed, for investments of up to £200,000, VCTs can offer significant tax incentives to investors, including 30% income tax relief.