Know the difference between retirement guidance and advice
Many people only properly review their pensions when they want to take money out. At this point, they might have 40 years of savings spread across several schemes with different rules (and even different legislation) applying to them. It’s not always easy to make sense of everything at this stage, so getting help is a good idea. But what sort of help is needed?
You can choose to do much of the research yourself, including getting some free guidance, or you can take paid-for advice. They both have their advantages, so to help you understand more about them, we’ve interviewed two specialists in our retirement service – Alastair Cole and Charlie Nicol.
Alastair Cole: Guidance
Guidance can mean different things to different people, so Alastair Cole is keen to point out that when you choose guidance from Fidelity, you are given a lot of help from highly trained specialists.
Alastair says, “When I talk with a potential customer, I make sure I take the time to get to know them and their requirements. I then provide a general overview of the options available on the market and talk to them about the things they need to remember. Finally, if it’s relevant, we look at the services that Fidelity offers and how they can take advantage of them.”
When asked to pick out the key benefit of guidance, Alastair suggests that it provides “reassurance”. He explains, “Guidance helps you understand the various choices you have and prompts you on all the things you need to consider. We find that many customers feel much more confident about making their own decisions after a ‘guidance’ conversation. This includes making sure you know about some of the potential pitfalls, such as your annual allowance dropping from £40,000 to £4,000 once you take more than tax-free cash from your pension…an important point if you are planning to continue contributing to your pension in the future.”
Alastair goes on to say “we can help clients with annuities as well as drawdown, so we can be a one-stop shop if customers are looking for a broader view”.
Charlie Nicol: Advice
With pension advice, you get a much more comprehensive service, with a personal recommendation at the end of the process. This is designed to help you make the best decisions possible, whether you are thinking about transferring pensions or taking money out of them. Charlie Nicol says, “This recommendation takes into account everything about your current position, plans and pension accounts - and it can take around 40 hours of work from the retirement team before the final recommendation is completed.“
He adds, “This is why advice is very popular with those who have enough knowledge to make their own choices but value having a second opinion from a specialist before making such a significant decision. For example, the Lifetime Allowance is a complex pension area and some people don’t even realise they have reached their limit; they then need advice about how to minimise tax impacts.
Of course, advice is also needed by people who just don’t know where to start and want someone to walk them through it all.”
Alongside these two groups, Charlie points out that there are some cases where you have to take advice, such as transferring a pension with certain benefits and guarantees. These are important decisions, so it makes sense in this situation to talk to advisers who specialise in retirement income issues to get high-quality advice from retirement specialists.
Charlie finishes by saying that advice really can pay for itself, as pensions are far more complicated than some people realise. He says, “We look at thousands of pensions every year, but I still find circumstances and conditions that I haven’t seen before. Although there’s a fee for advice I find that people who could benefit from it do recognise the value once they’ve had a chance to talk with us. After all, pensions represent a lifetime of savings, so it’s important to make the right decisions.”
Advice or guidance: At a glance
- You make the decisions on your own
- You get information and support, from our website and over the telephone.
- You get guidance to help you avoid potential pitfalls
- You don’t pay a fee for guidance
- We double-check your plans, will advise you on a suitable course of action and give you a personal recommendation, in writing
- We take you through everything you need to think about – either over the phone or in person at our London Investor Centre
- We make sure you don’t get caught by any potential pitfalls
- We charge a low flat-rate fee for advice of typically £2,500
Get £500 off the cost of advice
If you think that retirement advice is right for you, our £500 advice voucher can save you even more.
Call us for more information about our free guidance or expert advice. We’re available Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
The government's Pension Wise service offers free, impartial guidance to help you understand your options at retirement. You can access the guidance online or over the telephone on 0800 138 3944.
Please remember that the value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. You cannot normally access your pension savings until age 55. The value of any tax benefits will depend on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change.
Pension and retirement planning can be complex, so if you are unsure about the suitability of a pension investment, retirement service or any action you need to take, please contact Fidelity’s retirement service, or, if you prefer, speak to an authorised financial adviser of your choice.
Exclusions, terms and conditions
Terms and Conditions
These terms and conditions (together with any relevant documents referred to in them) set out the terms relating to the Offer.
The promoter of this Offer is FIL Retirement Services Limited, St Cross House, St Cross Business Park, Newport, Isle of Wight PO30 5BP (“Fidelity’s retirement advice service ”).
This Offer is available when you agree to take either retirement advice or pension transfer advice for the first time from Fidelity’s retirement advice service between 26 November 2018 and 28 February 2019 (“Offer Period”).
- To be eligible for this Offer, you must be 45 years of age or older.
- This Offer is subject to your acceptance of Fidelity’s retirement advice service Terms of Business, which will be provided during your initial, free-consultation meeting.
Terms of the Offer
- The £500 retirement advice discount voucher will be redeemed against your final invoice.
- VAT, where applicable, will be calculated on the total advice fee before the discount voucher is applied.
- To use the £500 retirement advice discount voucher please provide the voucher code to Fidelity’s retirement advice service when you call and before signing Fidelity’s retirement advice service Terms of Business.
- This Offer cannot be redeemed against any of the following:
- initial deposit payable in respect of any advice given by Fidelity’s retirement advice service or
- annual reviews
- This Offer can only be used once and cannot be used in conjunction with any other discounts or offers, including the 20% partner discount.
- Any personal information you submit to Fidelity will be maintained in accordance with Data Protection legislation and used in accordance with the Fidelity Privacy Statement which can be found on the Fidelity website: fidelity.co.uk/security-privacy
- Fidelity reserves the right to cancel or amend the terms of the Offer without notice during the Offer Period. Any cancellation of, or changes to, the terms of the Offer will be notified to you on the Fidelity website: fidelity.co.uk
- The Offer will expire at midnight on 28 February 2019.
- The Offer has no cash redemption value.
Please note that regrettably we are unable to offer Fidelity’s retirement advice services to US or Canadian citizens.
Please remember, that the value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. You cannot normally access your pension savings until age 55. In addition, the value of any tax benefits will depend on individual circumstances and all tax rules may change. Pension and retirement planning can be complex, so if you are unsure about the suitability of a pension investment, retirement service or any action you need to take, please contact Fidelity’s retirement service, or, if you prefer, speak to an authorised financial adviser of your choice.