Personal Finance

Positive pension news as Government commits '£80million' to help Britons’ retirement plans

When considering whether to access a private pension, it is vital people know if it would be a wise choice for them. The Government has confirmed plans which could mean they splash out millions of pounds to support Britons as they make crucial retirement decisions.

Under the new rules, providers of pension schemes must offer to book a Pension Wise appointment for anyone looking to draw cash from their defined contribution pension for the first time.

These changes are designed to boost the uptake of guidance which could help Britons to make more informed decisions regarding their retirement.

Pension Wise is a service which provides free support to Britons aged 50 and over regarding their pensions.

It is backed by the Government and offers 45-minute guidance sessions to help people make the best decision for them.

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New data from the Government has shown the financial commitment attached to this increased emphasis on supporting Britons as they make key retirement decisions.

According to a tweet from Josephine Cumbo of the Financial Times, the Government has estimated “it would cost £45m-£80m per year to automatically enrol savers aged 50 and older into a Pension Wise guidance appointment”.

She added: “The Govt says this cost would be picked up by levypayers.”

Tom Selby, head of retirement policy at AJ Bell, believes the new regulations will be hugely beneficial for future retirees.

He said: “Savers now have total flexibility when accessing their hard-earned retirement pot, allowing people to take an income in a way that suits their lifestyle and personal circumstances.

“However, making the wrong choice – such as buying a poorly priced annuity or taking too much, too soon in drawdown – could have disastrous consequences.

“It is therefore critical that as many people as possible understand their options and the potential risks when accessing their retirement pot.

“Boosting take-up of official guidance from Pension Wise is a key part of that, as is promoting the potential benefits of taking regulated financial advice for those who can afford it.”

Helen Morrissey, senior pensions and retirement analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, agreed that there are potential benefits to the changes, but also warned there could be some unintended negative consequences.

She said: “The stronger nudge to guidance has the potential to really help people make more informed retirement income decisions and boost awareness of Pension Wise.

“However, we need the rules to be as closely aligned between trust and contract-based schemes as possible to avoid confusion, and even disengagement.

“Rules around opting out of guidance are a case in point. People may have retirement savings across both trust and contract-based schemes and differing rules about what is classified as communicating an opt-out can prove an unwelcome complication.”


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