Most of us will have had some form of pension in the past. In many cases, because we don’t normally stay with the same firm our entire careers, we actually have accumulated multiple pensions through all our various jobs. 

For example, the average client we work with probably has between four and six different pension plans from various employers!

These pensions tend to get lost over the years, but when the time comes for retirement, it’s vital to make sure we know where they are, what type of pension they might be, and if they are available for the new flexi access drawdown rule.

This is where you might want to look at getting a good Independent Financial Adviser to consolidate your pensions for you. In this article, I will explain why consolidating your pensions is so important, and how it can help those who are considering retirement. 

Moving all your old pensions into one flexible plan

If we go back to the 70s, 80s and 90s, some of these older pensions were retirement annuity contracts or section 226a contracts that had higher fees than the newer, more modern pensions of today.

So, when a new client comes to us, we always ask them to gather details of all their pensions that they can find.

What we want to do is to try to assess all the client’s pension provisions, as well as their whole financial position as they come up to retirement age.

Many of our clients are moving from a situation where they are generating income from a salary, to needing to rely on their investments and pensions to provide them with enough income to have the lifestyle they want for the rest of their lives. 

The good news is that, for many of our retired clients, we have been able to transition them from all these various pensions they have collected over the years into the new flexi access drawdown pensions that have come in over the last four years.

Consolidating your pensions into a flexi access drawdown

This new pension is great because it means that you don’t have six or seven different pension payments coming in each month of differing values. It’s all wrapped up nicely into one payment which can be paid monthly or as often as you need it. It’s this flexibility and the major death benefits that make consolidating your pensions a must for anyone moving into retirement.  

At Applewood Independent Ltd, part of our job is to consider whether our clients should roll up all of their pensions into one flexi access pension and make sure that we can maintain or even increase the capital value. This way, our clients’ money doesn’t run out, and they can enjoy their hard-earned retirement to the full.

Creating a solid plan for the future 

The temptation for many people with a small pension pot of less than £30,000 is to take it all out, pay the tax on it and have all your pension paid into your account.

However, most people don’t need all that money in one go. When we consolidate pensions, we’re trying to make sure that we match our clients’ exact income levels with their income needs.

Instead of taking everything out of their pension pot in one go, we help them use their pensions, and any other investments in cash deposits, to build a plan that will help them get as much value as possible from the funds they have.

It’s a simple process with an Independent Financial Adviser

From a client’s point of view, consolidating pensions isn’t a complicated process. Most people will remember their old employers or have some sort of paperwork relating to the pension scheme they were on. 

No matter the type of pension, a good Independent Financial Adviser can assess all of these old pension schemes and develop a cohesive plan for the client to make it far simpler for them to manage. And it will give them the income they need at the same time.

Flexible withdrawals for new pensions

Over the last 12 months, there has been a change in the way people have started to use their pensions. A lot of our clients have turned off their regular income because of the volatility of the market in February–March 2020. Because of the flexibility of the new flexi access rules, they have started to draw capital rather than regular income when they need it.

Many of our clients didn’t need as much income last year, so some decided to live off their state benefits and cash holdings and allow the pension funds to recover, which I’m pleased to say they have done very nicely since they fell back in 2020!

Our clients just needed a lump sum here and there from their pension to tide them over a set period, which they were able to withdraw easily after we consolidated their pensions.

It’s all about simplicity 

By consolidating our clients’ pensions into a flexi access drawdown, we have been able to invest and grow the capital in them over the longer term, whilst they have still been able to take money out as and when they need it. 

Ultimately, consolidating your pensions is about simplicity. When looking at retirement, most people want their life to be as simple as possible, with one fully flexible plan rather than dealing with six or seven rigid pensions. 

That is the main objective of our clients, and that is why consolidating is so important. 

If you need some extra advice on the state of your pensions, feel free to get in touch with us for a free, no-obligation cost review of your existing pensions. 

With 41 years of experience as an Independent Financial Adviser, we can be sure to point you in the right direction.

I hope this was useful. Feel free to email me directly for any further information at david@applewoodindependent.co.uk.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute financial advice. Applewood Independent Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For financial advice designed for you and your specific circumstances, please contact the author using the contact details provided in this article or, alternatively, contact the Applewood Independent Ltd office on 01270 626555.

The value of an investment can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Accessing pension benefits early may impact on levels of retirement income and your entitlement to certain means tested benefits.