Previously we have considered the potential impact of tax relief on pension investments being changed (and not for the better!). There were fears that the Chancellor might have reduced allowances in the recent Autumn Budget, but this has not happened.

Most of us understand that tax relief on pension contributions can increase the contribution so that the amount invested is greater than the payment. A well informed Independent Financial Adviser will check out individual circumstances against the qualifying criteria and help maximise any potential gains that can be made.

Once the benefits are accumulated, there are tax-efficient ways to draw down benefits that range from tax-free lump sums to regular tax-free or taxable income with cleaver balancing of allowances and spreading across tax years to minimise tax exposure.

For many, the aim is to retire before the state pension age by drawing down from pensions or other investments. This is where cash flow modelling becomes a valuable tool to highlight the probability of success, or what actions need to be taken to achieve the things you desire at the earliest opportunity. As well as providing the peace of mind knowing that a long retirement is affordable.

Pension benefits need to pay for all those essential expenses, the ones you could live without but prefer not to, and those little luxuries you have worked hard for. Delivery of pension income could be from guaranteed lifetime arrangement, such as the State Pension, fixed-term or lifetime private or workplace pensions, or maybe flexible drawdown – which allows you to take the benefits when they will do the most good. A combination of these can be a great way to manage the financial challenges of retirement.

The simple message is that as soon as you desire taking control of your retirement planning, get a plan put in place. This is because, unless you are fortunate, there will be some effort required to provide an income higher than state benefits. If in doubt, contact us for a free, no obligation, discussion.

For more details on our savings and investments plans and pensions, please call 01733 314553 or email us at