Savings, investments and pensions

With so much uncertainty in the financial markets and a surge in financial scams, it’s natural to be concerned about your savings and investments – particularly if you’re approaching retirement. Here’s the key info on what you need to know about what’s going on and how to protect yourself financially.

Spotting scams

 

How to spot a pension scam

Unfortunately, with the uncertainty and added financial concerns people have been facing recently, there’s been a surge in financial scams to part people from their hard-earned pension savings.

This short Pensions Basics film explains what to look out for, and what to do if you think you’ve been the victim of a pension scam.

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Top tips for avoiding scammers

Between phishing emails, dodgy websites and even door-to-door impostors, there are a number of ways that fraudsters are exploiting the COVID-19 outbreak to scam people. It’s important to be cautious as scammers change their methods all the time.

  • Be wary of fake sellers online. Shop through websites you trust and check impartial review sites such as TrustPilot or Which? for sites you haven’t used before. Purchasing with a credit card can also help to protect your money if anything should go wrong.
  • Do not trust unsolicited emails or texts. Be immediately aware of any unexpected texts or emails that ask you for sensitive information or to click on a link. Even if they look legitimate. If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of a text or email, contact the alleged source directly, using the contact information found on their official website.
  • If it looks dodgy, it probably is. Spelling mistakes and messy layouts are a telltale sign that the email or text is from a fraudster, rather than whoever it may appear to be from.
  • Stay away from high pressure. Fraudsters often try to create a sense of urgency to make you do something before you’ve had a chance to properly think it through. Trusted organisations will never ask you to make financial transactions on the spot – so, be wary of any text, email, letter or phone call that demands an immediate response.
  • Having your data proves nothing. Even if someone has your details, like name, address or date of birth, it doesn’t mean they’re genuine.

Find out more about common ongoing scams, and how to protect yourself from them, on the Lloyds Bank website.

For more general advice on protecting yourself from financial fraud, visit the Take Five website.

Pensions and the stock market

What is stock market volatility?

 

When stock market value rises and falls significantly within a short space of time, this is known as stock market volatility. Although it may be unsettling to see the value of your investments go down suddenly, it’s a fairly normal part of investing. And though it can never be completely guaranteed, historically, long-term growth has always recovered from short-term falls in the past.

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Why has my pension pot fallen in value?

 

To help your retirement savings grow for when you come to retire, your pension provider will invest your money on your behalf. Generally, this means that your savings grow when the stock market is performing well – but it also means the value may fall when the stock market slumps. This is exactly what’s happened as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

As pensions are a long-term investment, although it can’t be guaranteed, we expect long-term growth to eventually recoup these short-term falls – as has historically been the case many times.

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What should I do if I’m retiring soon?

Generally, as you approach retirement, your savings will be gradually moved to less and less risky funds. This doesn’t mean your savings won’t have taken a hit, but it should be comparatively less the closer to retirement you are. We can’t guarantee this is the case for your specific circumstance, so it’s worth checking the value of your investments regularly and making sure they’re invested in a way that supports your plans for the future.

For personalised financial advice tailored for your specific situation, we recommend seeking an independent financial adviser.

Find an IFA in your area.

Planning your route to retirement

Retirement

Whether retirement is still a long way off or you’re almost there, planning for your financial future can feel like a big task to take on. From Pension Basics to managing your money when you retire and different ways to save for your future, we’ll help you explore the different options available to you at retirement.

What have I got?

You can login to check your Scottish Widows pension on the go anytime anywhere.

Life moves fast and it’s easy to lose track of a pension. If you need to trace a lost pension, the Government’s free service can help.

Am I on track?

Use our Pay More calculator to see the difference that paying a little more now could make to your retirement.

Consider if combining your pension pots is right for you, and see how it could make it easier to keep track of your savings.

Try our pension calculator to see how much you may need to save each month to achieve your retirement goals.

Get an idea of what your pension income is likely to be, using this handy pension planner tool.

See your projected future pension and what you need to do to achieve the pension you'd like, with our pension planner tools.

What do I do next?

Take advantage of these free resources to help you take control of your finances and plan for the future:

Savings

Whether you’re a new saver, or an experienced investor, we’ve got some great hints and tips to help you make the most of your money. Remember to find the right savings option for you and a level of risk you’re comfortable with.

If you’re able to save

If your financial situation finds you with extra money available at the end of each month, it’s worth thinking about saving as much as you can afford to. Building up some emergency savings can help take the pressure off if you face any unforeseen expenses or drops in income in future.

For hints, tips and videos on how to get your savings off to a great start, visit Halifax’s website.

Read the Money Advice Service’s impartial guide to all the different ways you can save and invest.