Over the past few years, I have sent no less than 5 kids to university.
That means I’ve probably visited more campuses and read more university prospectuses than any other person in the UK. (Well, that’s how it feels anyway!).
And inevitably, the universities tell parents a similar story. Each one emphasises why it has the best programme, the best tutors, the best social life, and why it would make a fantastic choice for your child. It all sounds very persuasive…
Then you get home and have a totally different, very multifaceted conversation with your kid. Do they want to study close to home or not? What do they really want out of life, and how does university fit in? What’s the cost of housing?
The problem is, you can’t make a choice about which university to attend without looking at the wider, personal context. Information about the university is just part of the story. Your child’s personality and needs are the other half.
Making decisions about your pension is just the same.
Very often, people think about their pension in isolation.
“I’ve built up a nice pot – should I get an annuity or take a lump sum?”
“I didn’t contribute much to my pension in my 30s, should I should top it up now?”
“Should I swap my final salary scheme for cash?”
The problem is, none of these make sense as stand-alone questions. You need to consider your wider financial context:
What additional sources of income might you have in retirement? Are you due to inherit any money? What’s the value of your house? How much money do you need to live on, when you stop working? How much money will you need if your health deteriorates?
How and when you access your pension money and how much you need to save, will all change depending on your answers.
Unfortunately, this is quite hard to do yourself.
Sure, you can look up the merits of an annuity vs a lump sum on Google. But you need experience and skill to take a holistic view of your finances, and weigh up all the circumstances and all your competing needs.
It also takes a lot of knowledge to be able to navigate not just pensions, but mortgages, investments, ISAs, tax law and so on. Most laypeople might know quite a bit about one area, but it is unlikely you have in-depth knowledge of all of them.
The value of advice
In other words, to try get the best outcomes, you really should speak to a professional financial advisor. An expert advisor can develop a bespoke plan for you, which looks at your pension as part of a bigger picture – and endeavors to make the best arrangements for you overall.
If this is a result you’d like, then please do click here to email me and let’s talk.
We recently completed the purchase of Focus Oxford LLP, an award-winning independent financial advisory firm.
That means we can now help you plan your finances in the most efficient way, and help build your long-term wealth.
And we can do the same thing for your staff as well.
After all, if your company has invested in their pensions, and wants to make sure they can retire when the time is right, then it makes sense to give them advice on how to maximise their pot, right?
Topics: Workplace Savings