I’m near Retirement… What are my options?

I'm near retirementAre you ready to retire? Even if retirement is coming soon, you may have more options than you think especially now that you have Pension Freedom.

Tip 1: Make the most of any personal pensions when you come to take them. Don’t automatically accept the offer that your pension provider offers, you may be able to get a better deal if you shop around.

Tip 2: Boost your State Pension. If you think you might not be in line for a full basic State Pension, it’s worth seeing if you can boost it by paying voluntary National Insurance contributions.

Tip 3: Work a bit longer. There is no fixed retirement age in the UK. You may be able to boost your retirement income by working a bit longer, or by putting off claiming your State Pension – or both.

Pension FreedomI'm near retirement

The power to do what you like with the money you’ve saved for your retirement – no laws forcing you to buy an annuity and no government telling you what you can and can’t do with your hard-earned cash.

  1. From age 55 you will have a range of options about how to use your pension if it’s the type of pension where you save into your own pot. These options don’t apply if you have a fixed income pension linked to years of service.
  2. There is no rule that says you must take money out of your pension from age 55. Many people keep working into their 60’s which gives you more time to save and a decade or more of potential extra growth.
  3. There are 3 main options for how to take money out of your pension. You can take flexible income, fixed income or take the whole thing as a cash lump sum. With all options 25% can be a tax free lump sum with the remaining taxed as income. This means you could pay zero, 20%, 40% or 45% tax on what you take out of your pension.
  4. If you choose flexible income, known as Drawdown, you stay invested and take your money out gradually. You can change the amount you take out and if you die before spending all of it, your pension savings can pass on to your loved ones.
  5. The second option is a fixed income called an Annuity. There is no flexibility but the peace of mind of a guaranteed income will suit some people and if you start with a flexible income you can move to a fixed income later.
  6. The third option is taking your whole income as a cash lump sum, but don’t sleepwalk into a tax bill as you could pay as much as 45% tax and don’t fall into the hands of scammers who might cold call you tempting you to cash in your pension and invest in something with suspiciously high returns. Be on your guard against fraudsters.
  7. You might inherit more from a loved one’s pension. That’s because the pension death tax of 55% is being scrapped. If someone dies before age 75, with some types of pension, it will be passed on tax free and if someone dies after age 75, if you inherit a pension pot from them, it is your income tax rate which applies to whatever money you decide to take out of that pension pot.

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