In this year’s budget, the Chancellor announced greater pension flexibility with effect from April 2015. The proposed new rules are included in the draft Taxation of Pensions Bill which is expected to be enacted later this year. The biggest changes will provide additional options particularly for those of us with money pension schemes which no longer need to be converted into an annuity.
The Government believes that those at or in retirement should be given more personal responsibility for the outcome of their pension savings. However making the best choice is rarely straightforward and this is recognised in the legislation. Thus members of money purchase schemes will be entitled to free and impartial guidance at retirement to help them make an informed decision on how to make use of their savings. Whilst this guidance is expected to be tailored to a retiree’s personal circumstances, the guidance will stop short of making any specific recommendation.
An increasingly popular alternative method of generating income in retirement is via an equity release plan, many of which have been designed to meet the money needs of those aged 55+. Instead of simple guidance, it is a regulatory and hence legal requirement for homeowners contemplating equity release to receive financial advice before they can submit an application. For example, Bower offer independent advice including a free initial consultation. Having reviewed your requirements, Bower will make a specific plan recommendation from the wide range of products which are available.
By making use of the guidance guarantee for money purchase plan holders, retirees will be helped to make the right choices for meeting their retirement income objectives. However the more comprehensive financial advice service provided to anyone considering equity release enables applicants to have greater confidence in the choice of plan selected.