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3 Expert Tips to Help you Make the Most of your Pension

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New research suggests many of us now value our pensions more amid the coronavirus pandemic. Vicky Shaw finds out more.

The pandemic has made many of us value our pensions even more than usual – and this is particularly the case if you have a ‘gold-plated’ final salary pension – new research suggests.

Legal & General surveyed grandparents and parents across the UK to discover how the Covid-19 crisis had made them think differently about their personal finances.

A fifth (21%) of those with a defined benefit (DB) pension scheme say they value the security of their pension more due to the pandemic.

DB schemes promise savers a certain level of income in retirement, based on their salary, such as final salary pensions. They have become rarer, however, as they’re expensive to run. Many employers nowadays offer defined contribution (DC) pension schemes instead – where the retirement income you’ll get depends on factors such as how well investments perform.

The research found 15% of those with DC pensions now value their savings pots more.

Pension savers may gift more to loved ones

The findings also show that one in 10 (10%) with a DB pension say the security of their retirement income has made them more likely to gift or loan money to loved ones as part of their retirement plans. They’re twice as likely to do this as those with a DC pension, with just one in 20 (5%) saying this.

Laura Mason, chief executive officer, Legal & General Retirement Institutional (LGRI), which helps DB schemes to settle their pension obligations, says: “The events of this year have led to uncertainty for many and, understandably, more people are thinking about their pension income in retirement and how it will affect their loved ones.”

3 top tips for retirement savers

David Poulton, chief customer officer, LGRI, says: “It is worthwhile for those in, or approaching, retirement to consider these three tips to ensure they’re getting the most out of their DB pension scheme.”

Here’s what Legal & General suggests…

1. Check you’re aware of all of your pension schemes

Many people will have worked for several employers in their lifetime. Even if you only worked at a company for a few months, there’s a chance there was a pension. Schemes generally send annual updates in the post, but if you think you have ‘lost’ a pension, consider trying the Government’s Pension Tracing Service.

2. Find out if you still have money left

You may think that you’ve taken all of your money out – but you may not be receiving all of the benefits you’re entitled to – or you could still have money to draw down. Once you’ve tracked down all of your DB pension schemes, ensure you know what’s left in each and that you receive annual updates.

3. Beware of scams

Scammers will target pensions. This can happen over email, the phone, or through fraudulent websites. Be aware, be vigilant, and never be rushed into making a decision. For more guidance, go to the Action Fraud website (actionfraud.police.uk).

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New research suggests many of us now value our pensions more amid the coronavirus pandemic. Vicky Shaw finds out…
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