Key questions

Our eleven key questions can help you decide whether or not taking all your pension in cash is the right choice for you.

Q1

Are you aged 55 or above?

Yes No Change answer

Taking your pension benefits before age 55

You normally can’t take your pension pot before age 55, however you may be able to take it before this age if :

  • you’re retiring early because of ill health
  • you had the right before 6 April 2006 to take your pension pot before you’re 55 – called a ‘protected pension age’

If either of the above applies to you please contact us for further details about how you can take your pension pot because this can’t be done online.

Continue to question two

Q2

Should you decide to fully encash your pension, are you comfortable you can provide for any dependants you may have?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Once you fully encash your pension the decision cannot be reversed. If you are unsure about how you may provide for your dependants, we strongly recommend that you discuss it with a financial adviser first.

Continue to question three

Q3

Are you aware that you may have guarantees applying to your policy which you may lose if you fully encash?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

For further information on whether your policy has a guarantee please refer to your policy documentation or please contact us.

Continue to question four

Q4

Have you used the free government guidance service called Pension Wise?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Pension Wise can help you make the right choices

Pension Wise, the Government’s free impartial guidance service, has been specifically designed to help customers through the new pension landscape and to make the right choices around their retirement.

We would strongly recommend consulting Pension Wise before making any decision on what to do with your pension. If you proceed without using Pension Wise you may not have all the information you need to make a fully informed decision.

If you would like to speak to Pension Wise, please contact them on 0300 330 1001 or visit their website www.pensionwise.gov.uk. Alternatively, visit your local Citizens Advice Bureau.

Continue to question five

Q5

Have you taken professional advice?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

A professional financial adviser can help you with your retirement decisions.

As taking your pension is an important and irreversible decision, we would strongly recommend that you take professional financial advice.

If you already have a financial adviser, please consult them. Otherwise, you can go to www.unbiased.co.uk to find a professional financial advisor in your area or contact us for more information.

If you would like to seek professional financial advice first, please exit this page and return once you’ve spoken to a professional financial adviser.

Continue to question six

Q6

Are you aware of the potential for Pension Scams?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Protect yourself and your Pension- Whilst the majority of investments in the market are from reputable firms, you should be aware investment scams do exist. There’s a chance that fraudsters will try to target people with access to sums of money. If you’re approached about a new investment opportunity, we strongly recommend that you discuss it with a financial adviser first. Never be pressured into making a quick decision about investments. Make sure you know how to recognise scams and protect yourself. Common tactics include things like cold calling, promises of high returns, overseas investment opportunities and green investments such as bogus energy conservation. We strongly recommend you visit www.pensionwise.gov.uk/scams for further information.

You can also protect yourself by ensuring your Adviser is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. You can do this by checking the Financial Conduct Authority register.

Continue to question seven

Q7

Do you plan to use this lump sum to help to provide an income for retirement?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Know how long your money may have to last

Our research shows it is common for customers to underestimate how long they will need their pension to last them in retirement.

You should think carefully about how long you might need your fund to last when taking money from it. You should consider all sources of income you will have available to you in retirement.

By cashing in your pension now it could increase the chance of you running out of money later in retirement. By continuing this process and taking your policy as a lump sum, it might mean you only have state benefits to fall back on.

Continue to question eight

Q8

Do you plan to invest any of the money you are taking from your pension savings?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Protect yourself and your pension

You should always explore the charges associated with any new investment product and consider how these compare with those of your current pension product as they may be higher. The higher the charge an investment has the greater growth you will need in order to get a good return.

Also, while the vast majority of investments in the market are from reputable firms, you should be aware investment scams do exist. There’s a chance that fraudsters will try to target people with access to sums of money. If you’re approached about a new investment opportunity, we strongly recommend that you discuss it with a financial adviser first. Never be pressured into making a quick decision about investments.

These have been on the increase and common tactics include things like cold calling, promises of high returns, overseas investment opportunities and green investments such as bogus energy conservation.

You can protect yourself by making sure your adviser is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority. You can do this by checking the Financial Conduct Authority register.

Continue to question nine

Q9

Are you in receipt of or expect to be in receipt of any means tested benefits? For example housing benefit.

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Understand that taking money can affect your benefits

If you receive any benefits you should be aware that certain benefits are means tested and can therefore be reduced (or stopped) depending on the amount of money/savings you have. Cashing in your pension can affect any means tested benefits you receive.

If you are concerned about this we would strongly recommend speaking to your local benefits office before taking any money from your pension. If you would like more information please exit this page and return once you have made a decision.

Continue to question 10

Q10

Your pension is generally protected from creditors and if you withdraw this, creditors may have a claim over the money. Is this a concern to you now or in the future?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Creditors may be entitled to your money

While your money is in your pension it is generally legally protected from any creditors (people you owe money to), however when you take money from your pension this protection will stop and any creditors may be able to claim all or part of your money.

If you have any debts it is important to understand that, while not an issue for most people, when you take money from your pension this may give any creditors a call on the money. This could also apply to any further pension benefits taken in future.

You can also find more information on debts and creditors at the Money Advice Service.

If you would like to review the link above please exit this page and return once you have made a decision.

Continue to final question

Q11

Have you considered your tax implications by taking this full encashment?

Yes No Not sure Change answer

Your money is subject to tax

When you cash in your pension as a lump sum, normally 25% is tax-free and you are liable to tax on the remainder at your marginal rate of income tax. Your marginal rate is calculated based on your taxable income in that tax year with the amount of your pension pot over the tax-free lump sum being treated as income. This could result in you being pushed into a higher tax bracket for this tax year.

HMRC require us to apply emergency tax to the balance of the lump sum after the 25% tax-free portion unless your lump sum qualifies as a small pot lump sum (£10,000 and under) in which case we will apply a flat basic rate. This may be more or less than the rate of tax you are due to pay and you can reclaim or pay any extra tax due direct from HMRC.

If you decide to take a full encashment (except a small pot) you will be subject to the Money Purchase Annual Allowance (MPAA) which is £4,000 for tax year 2017/18. This means that, if contributions you or your employer pays on your behalf to money purchase pensions exceed £4,000 per annum for 2017/18 you will be liable to a tax charge.

Tax treatment depends on your individual circumstances. Your circumstances and tax rules may change in the future.

If you do have any questions or require further guidance you can contact HMRC directly on 0300 200 3300 or let us tell you more about taking all your pension as cash.

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We always want to make sure you get the right level of support when making decisions. If you’re not sure about anything you’ve read today, or about taking all your pension in cash, please get in touch with us before making a decision – we’re here to help.

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