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Give your pension a health check

Since April 2015, if you are aged over 55 you can now access the money you have saved into your pension in many more ways than you could before. How healthy your funds are at this point can depend on how well you have contributed to and looked after your investments throughout your working life. 

Giving your pension a routine health check will help to ensure your savings are in the best possible condition when you reach the point you want to access your cash.

Review your attitude to risk

and how your pension savings are being invested. Is there too much risk being taken with your retirement money or is it being invested with too much caution? Are you on target for your pensions to be worth the amount you need at retirement? If you are not confident in your current arrangements, seek financial advice and consider making appropriate changes to your investment portfolio. 

Check the charges which are being deducted from your pension fund 

Not all pension providers charge the same amount to manage your pension investments, and older schemes can be more expensive than modern pension arrangements. Cutting the cost of charges will mean that more of your money is invested and grows in your fund, but make sure you check all of the details before making changes – cheaper isn’t necessarily always better.


Death benefits

can be a valuable feature of a pension for some people. Find out if any of your current pension plans provide them and if not, talk to a professional adviser about your options. 

Review your pension savings

Each of your pension providers will send you an annual pension statement, but you can request a valuation at any time. Your aim is to get a firm figure of your total pension wealth. If you have a number of pension pots (typically if you have had several employers each with a different pension scheme) then it is worth checking that you have all of the policy numbers, and the address they hold for correspondence with you is up-to-date. It would also be prudent to check the beneficiaries of each of these schemes should you die, as your wishes may have changed over the years. 

Cash withdrawals

As you get closer to retirement and think you may choose to make cash withdrawals from your pension funds, check first that your pension provider offers ‘flexible access’. Not all pension funds offer this facility, and if yours don’t then you may want to consider your options ahead of time.  

Start to make plans for the future

You could have state, workplace and personal pensions to manage. Starting to consider how you will co-ordinate withdrawals ahead of retirement is likely to be beneficial. You may want to buy an annuity with some of your money, which will provide a guaranteed income for life. You may also want to leave some money untouched to continue growing.  You need to consider all the options and rules. Knowing the order and timescales in which you plan to make withdrawals can secure your financial plans for the duration of your retirement.

Many decisions you make with regard to your pension can’t be reversed, even if at a later date you realise you have made a mistake. If you are not confident in the decisions you are making with regard to reviewing your pension plans or drawing an income at retirement then seek advice.

f you do not have a financial adviser, or if you want to find out more please email us.

Date issued: 24.09.15

Please remember any views or facts expressed above are based on information received from a variety of sources which we believe to be reliable, but are not guaranteed as to accuracy or completeness. Any expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice. None of the information should be regarded as advice. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Investing involves risk and the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and is not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested. Any tax treatment is dependant upon individual client circumstances and may be subject to change.

Sanlam is a trading name of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited (Reg. in England 3879955) and English Mutual Limited (Reg. in England 6685913). English Mutual Limited is an appointed representative of Sanlam Wealth Planning UK Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Registered Office: St. Bartholomew’s House, Lewins Mead, Bristol, BS1 2NH.

Investing involves risk and the value of investments and the income from them may fall as well as rise and are not guaranteed. Investors may not get back the original amount invested.