If you are interested in accessing your pension it’s likely that these are the four questions you will want answered;

  1. What age can I access my pension at?
  2. How much of my pension can I access?
  3. How long will it take to access my pension?
  4. How do I choose an adviser?

 Answers

  1. What age can I access my pension at?

Many people view their pension as money that they can only access from age 65, however in many cases you can access your pension from age 50 or earlier in the case of ill health. The access age depends on what kind of pension you have and your circumstances. There are too many permutations to cover here but if you contact us and let us know the type of pension you have, your age and your current work status we can tell you very quickly.

  

  1. How much of my pension can I access?

Generally you will usually be able to withdraw at least 25% of your pension tax free. If your pension is not substantial in size you may be able to access all of it tax free. If you are told that you can’t take any of the funds tax free you should ensure that all of the options have been explored before proceeding and maybe even seek a second opinion.

It is important that your adviser knows how to maximise your retirement lump sum. You should not accept the figure which is contained in your Retirement Options letter as being the maximum you can obtain as very often this is based on a calculation done with incomplete information. The rules around calculating your maximum lump sum are complex and we believe that they are seldom fully utilised so we recently had a software programme built to perform the calculation. It takes a minimum of four minutes for this programme to do the calculation which is proof enough that no human could ever have done it correctly with a calculator.

If you are maturing your pension why not let us check whether we can increase your retirement lump sum. If we can’t at least you will know your pension is being matured optimally and if we can it will save you tax. In some cases you may be able to take all of your pension tax free

As you get the first €200,000 (lifetime limit) of your retirement lump sum tax free, if you don’t maximise your lump sum then you may end up paying tax at up to 52% on funds which you shouldn’t have to pay tax on at all. 

  

  1. How long will it take to access my pension?

In order to best serve you, our website is fully interactive;

a) You can authorise us to obtain your Retirement Options here

b) You can onboard yourself by completing our Factfind here (drop us an email when you’ve done this)

c) You can access a Risk Profile questionnaire here (make sure to complete the Post Retirement questionnaire and send us a scan or photo of it)

Once you have completed these three steps that is 90% of your work to access your pension done. We will need to meet you (via Zoom or in person if you prefer) to discuss the different options you have regarding the maturity of your pension. After that the only waiting time will be the time it takes your pension provider to process your maturity.

  

  1. How do I choose an adviser?

The question of how to choose a Financial Adviser is one that is covered in blog posts and newspaper articles repeatedly. Many of these provide the usual tips such as checking out the advisers education and experience, membership of professional bodies etc. We would say that appropriate education, experience and membership of the appropriate professional bodies are a necessity for any adviser, and as such this won’t help you to narrow the field to any significant degree, although there are people masquerading as advisers who don’t have the required educational qualifications so watch out.

In our opinion the vast majority of poor advice and mis-selling that takes place in the pensions industry is down to one very simple factor – poorly structured remuneration. The fact is that the way that advisers are paid means that they make more by providing bad advice. This is called a conflict of interest – where your advisers interest (making more money) conflicts with your interest (getting the best advice).

So our tip when choosing an adviser is that you should ask potential advisers to explain the conflict of interest that exists to you, and how they propose to eliminate this conflict of interest.

We’d like you to ask us this question also. We believe the answer will help you to choose the right adviser for you.

If you are interested in discussing this further please give us a call on 01 546 1100, send us your details via our Contact Us form, or book a 15 minute video call with us here.

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