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Understanding what Pension Wise is and how to use it

If you’re aged 50 or over and have a defined contribution pension pot, you can get free guidance from Pension Wise.

 

Pension Wise is a government-backed service that helps you understand how you can take money from your pension pot. It offers free appointments where you can talk through your options to help you make the right decision.

What Pension Wise guidance offers

An appointment with a Pension Wise specialist will help you understand what your overall financial situation will be when you retire.

They’ll also discuss other factors you need to consider when deciding on your options before retirement.

Independent research has found that 97% of people who have an appointment would recommend it to others.

An appointment will explain the following:

  • Things to think about when considering your choices. For example, your plans to continue working, your personal and financial circumstances, and leaving money after you die.
  • All the payment options available, and how they relate to your circumstances.
  • The tax implications of accessing your pension.
  • What you should check before you make any decisions.
  • How to look out for scams.
  • Your next steps.

The service is impartial and free for you to use. However, it won’t recommend companies or tell you how to use your pension pot or invest your money.

The providers of Pension Wise guidance are:

  • Money and Pensions Service
  • The National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux
  • The Scottish Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux.

How to get your free Pension Wise appointment

Or, you can book a free Pension Wise appointment over the phone, by calling 0800 138 3944

It is a structured 45 to 60-minute guidance appointment.

Preparing for your appointment

To make the most of a Pension Wise appointment, it’s best to first check with your provider:

  • if you have a defined contribution pension
  • the value of your pension pot(s)
  • whether your pot contains any guarantees or special features.

Check your pension statement or ask your scheme or provider for an up-to-date valuation. If you have more than one pension pot, remember to gather information on all your pots together.

If you’ve lost track of any pensions, you can use the Pension Tracing Service, which is a free government-backed service. Their contact details are on the GOV.UK website

For an estimate of how much State Pension you might get, go to the GOV.UK website

Before your appointment, think about your financial circumstances as a whole. Such as your current salary or income, your likely living costs in retirement, and any relevant savings or debts.

It’s also worth starting to think about how you want to use your money when you retire. Do you just need small sums or would prefer a regular income?

Next steps

Pension Wise will provide you with next steps for each of the options available.

When you understand your options, we recommend that you shop around to get the best deal before making a decision.

If you need help to finalise your choices and find the right retirement income products, you can also speak to a regulated financial adviser. 

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MoneyHelper is the new, easy way to get clear, free,
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Whatever your circumstances or plans, move forward with MoneyHelper.

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